United Airline
Topic Author
Posts: 8846
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2001 5:24 pm

Flight Blood Clots 'hit One In Ten'

Sat May 12, 2001 12:02 pm

BBC News
Friday, 11 May, 2001, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK

Flight blood clots 'hit one in ten'

One in 10 people who travel on long-haul flights develop blood clots, according to scientists.
The London researchers revealed that 40 times more people suffered deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after long-haul flights than previously thought.

But many of these clots are "symptomless" and do not go on to develop into larger and potentially fatal clots.

Wearing special compression stockings, given out by some airlines, has been found to reduce the risks.

But the results are bound to raise concern among passengers.

The latest study, published in The Lancet, has already provoked controversy with scientists disputing the high number of cases found by consultant vascular surgeon John Scurr and his team.

An international meeting of scientists, aviation experts and air authorities in March launched an investigation into the number of DVT deaths following long-haul flights.


About 10 people a year die from blood clots in the lungs, like Emma Christofferson, 28, who died after a 20-hour flight from Australia.

And relatives of 14 UK DVT victims have launched a multi-million law suit against the airlines concerned.

Mr Scurr, of the Middlesex and University Hospitals, London, said his team had used extremely sensitive ultrasonographic assessment which enabled them to pick up more cases.

His team studied over 200 passengers who had travelled on flights of eight hours or more.

Half were given the special stockings and showed no symptoms - 10% of the others did show clots in their calves.

Mr Scurr said:"What we are doing is picking up the small clots, some will just go away, but others like seeds will germinate and become bigger clots."

Mr Scurr said there was no-one who could not fly, even those who had previous problems.

He said following medical advice and using stockings should cut the risk of clots and that the airlines were working with scientists to cut risks.

Mr Scurr said: "The airlines have been working with us for some time now.

"They are very familiar with these results and are giving passengers advice.

"For the majority of people, though, there is no risk."

Further studies:

In a commentary piece also in the Lancet, Dr Jack Hirsh from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, said more detailed and extensive studies were needed before firm conclusions could be drawn.

"What is needed are rigorously designed and adequately powered studies to resolve the issue.

"It would be premature to legislate that airlines change the seating configuration or introduce other costly procedures until there is more information on the extent of the problem and on the effectiveness of much simpler preventative measures."

Roger Wiltshire, Secretary General of the British Air Transport Association told the Today programme "We accept there is a risk with immobility.

"That is why the airlines have done an awful lot in the past 12 months to improve the advice they give to passengers about exercise and sensible hydration in flight."

But he said it was not the responsibility of the airlines to provide compression stockings.

DVT sufferer John Hodges told the BBC that he had suffered problems on a flight back from the US.

He started to feel breathless and had to be taken to hospital.

Mr Hodges said that if he ever flies again he will ensure he will make sure he takes all precautions necessary to protect his health.

"If ever I fly again I would certainly acquire a pair of stockings.

"The medical services seem to have a consensus that they are good for you."

Get up and have a walk and stretch yourself as much as possible durling a long haul flight.
Posts: 10217
Joined: Fri May 19, 2000 11:06 am

RE: Flight Blood Clots 'hit One In Ten'

Sat May 12, 2001 12:08 pm

This is a big issue in the airline industry right now.

On long haul flights you should take a little walk every 30 minutes.

A while ago, a 27 year old women with a baby child died because of blood clots from sitting in a cramped econom seat.

I think eventually, airlines will put in less seats in economy and space them out for more leg room.

Kind regards.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
Posts: 2196
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:01 pm

RE: Flight Blood Clots 'hit One In Ten'

Sat May 12, 2001 9:46 pm

I doubt airlines will take out seats. They'll probably leave it up to the passengers to get up. Just like the article says blood clots happen all the time. I think it will be a phobia for a lot of people now when they see that you have a 10% chance of a blood clot whenyou don't move for extended periods, i bet some people will be afraid to go to sleep for fear of developing a blood clot.

My $.02
Singapore 777
Posts: 982
Joined: Sat May 29, 1999 3:00 pm

RE: Flight Blood Clots 'hit One In Ten'

Sat May 12, 2001 11:28 pm

I hope it does not affect me.

Most of the time during a flight, I like to get up, walk about, chat with the stewardesses in the galleys and go to the lav. That's why I like the B777 more than the A-340 because it appears to be more spacious for walking pax like me! =)
United Airline
Topic Author
Posts: 8846
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2001 5:24 pm

RE: Flight Blood Clots 'hit One In Ten'

Sun May 13, 2001 2:48 am

Most travellors will be alright. Just get up and stretch your legs a bit from time to time.

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