Deep Vein Thrombosis

03 Jun 15 - 11:52 AM

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep leg vein. The deep veins are blood vessels which go through the calf and thigh muscles, and are not those which you can see just below the skin.

Now that it is coming up to that time of year everybody is travelling overseas to escape the cold, we thought it would be a good idea to provide some information on the relationship between long haul travel and the increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Long journeys in a seated position are thought to cause a slightly increased risk of DVT. This is probably due to immobility whilst sitting and being stuck in a cramped position for long periods. Blood flow slows collecting in the legs as we are not using any of our leg muscles to return blood to the heart, this change in blood flow places us at an increased risk of blood clots. The longer the flight the higher the risk is of developing a DVT.

DVT can result in serious complication such as permanent discomfort, discolouration, swelling of the calf and even a pulmonary embolism if the the clot is dislodged and returns to a blood vessel supplying the lung.

Those at an increased risk of DVT with travel are individuals that;

  • Have recently had an operation
  • Pregnant women
  • Having had a DVT previously
  • Those that are taking the pill or are on hormone replacement therapy 
  • Obese
  • Being very tall or very short
  • Those suffering from blood clotting disorders
  • Having a broken leg which is in plaster
  • Recent severe respiratory or cardiovascular illnesses
The best ways to avoid developing a DVT are;
  • Exercises the legs and feet regularly;
    • walking up and down the plane regularly
    • squeezing the muscles of the feet 
    • moving the legs through a full range of motion (hips, knees, ankles)
  • Drink plenty of water, avoid drinking too much alcohol and avoid taking sleeping tablets
  • Wear compression stockings or tights, full length tights work the best as the help the entire lower limb return blood to the heart and lungs
  • If you suffer from blood clotting disorders or have recently suffered from severe respiratory or cardiovascular illnesses consult your GP about anticoagulant medications which will again reduce the risk of blood clotting and development of a DVT.
If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us at Synergy Healthcare on (02) 9522 2125 for more information on travel and DVT.

Deep Vein Thrombosis