Take advantage of our guide on preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) even when travelling to guarantee a safe and enjoyable travel experience. Examine practical advice, physical exercises, and safety measures to protect your health on extended flights or travels. Put your health first by following the advice of professionals to remain hydrated, stay active, and reduce your risk of DVT.
This booklet offers tips on how to lessen the possibility of developing a deep vein thrombosis while travelling a long distance. A second pamphlet goes into further depth about deep vein thrombosis. If you want further in-depth guidance on this matter, speak with your consultant if it pertains to a specific medical problem you may have, or a private travel physician. A general practitioner (GP) can provide you a printout of your medical history, but they are often not qualified or insured to provide advice on the use of blood thinners while travelling or to write a certificate stating that you are “fit to fly.”
What is thrombosis of the deep veins?
A blood clot in a deep vein, commonly in the leg, is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood vessels that pass through the calf and thigh muscles are known as deep veins in the leg; these are not the veins that are visible just below the skin’s surface.
What is deep vein thrombosis associated with travel?
Extended travel (more than four hours) by automobile, bus, rail, or aeroplane may modestly raise the risk of DVT. This is most often the result of spending a lot of time sitting still and in cramps. When lying down, blood moves more slowly and builds up in the legs. A clot is more inclined to form in blood that is moving slowly.One leg discomfort, redness, or swelling are signs of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). An ultrasound scan is used to detect it; if you have symptoms, a blood test may also be necessary to determine if your risk is low or high.
There is little chance to prevent DVT when travelling. Studies indicate that around one DVT occurs for every 4,656 trips lasting four hours or more. You have a higher chance of developing a DVT the longer the journey. It is important to emphasize that the great majority of travellers have no issues. The majority of people have a very low likelihood of getting a DVT after a lengthy trip alone since there are other risk factors at play.
How dangerous is deep vein thrombosis?
That’s possible. In most cases, a blood clot that develops in a leg vein sticks to the vein wall. There are primarily two types of potential issues:
A pulmonary embolism, or blood clot in the lung, happens to a tiny percentage of DVT patients. A blood clot’s embolus is a piece that separates and moves through the circulation. An embolus originating from a clot in a leg vein has the potential to ascend via the circulation and lodge itself in a lung blood artery. This is dangerous and occasionally lethal. Breathlessness or chest discomfort are possible symptoms.
After a DVT, there may be persistent calf swelling and pain (post-thrombotic syndrome).
Who travels with the risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis?
After a lengthy trip, anybody can have DVT, however the following factors raise the risk:
- Having undergone surgery within the last two months.
- Having previously had a pulmonary embolism (PE) or DVT. (If you are currently on anticoagulant medication and have previously experienced a DVT or PE, your risk is not increased.)
- Having a close family member who experienced PE or DVT.
- Using oral hormone replacement treatment (HRT) in addition to combination contraceptive hormone tablets, patches, or rings.
- Being overweight.
- A few blood clotting conditions (such thrombophilia or polycythaemia).
- Wearing a plaster cast over a fractured leg.
- Recent serious sickness, such as a heart attack, pneumonia, or heart failure.
- Having obstructive lung disease in combination (COPD).
Recall that there is still a minimal probability of having a DVT following a trip, even if you have one of these risk factors. But if there’s any way to minimize even this tiny danger, that’s sensible.
How to lower your risk of developing DVT when travelling?
When travelling a great distance:
- Regularly work out your foot and leg muscles:
- When you are seated, adjust your legs, feet, and toes every thirty minutes or so.
- Occasionally, firmly press the balls of your feet on the footrest or the floor. This aids in improving blood flow to your lower limbs.
- When it’s safe to do so, stroll up and down the path once per hour or so.
- Make sure your legs can go as freely as possible in front of you. Thus, try to keep your baggage out from beneath the seat in front of you and, if at all feasible, recline your seat.
- When your journey comes to an end, make the most of the chance to stand up and stretch your legs.
- To prevent dehydration, or a shortage of fluid in the body, consume regular quantities of liquids.
- Don’t overindulge in booze. (Alcohol can make you immobile and dehydrated.)
- Avoid using sleeping pills as they might make you immobile.
Stockings with elastic compression
Compression stockings may help protect those at high to moderate risk of developing DVT from travelling-related complications, according to some data. According to a 2021 evaluation, this equates to a 90% decrease in the risk of DVT, which was previously estimated to be between 10 and 30 cases per 1000 passengers. Pharmacies sell the stockings for purchase. Consult the pharmacist for guidance on the appropriate variety. According to airline regulations, these are advised for travellers who pose a moderate risk, such as those who are pregnant, have undergone recent minor surgery, have large varicose veins, or are older than 60.
The right level of compression (class 1) must be present in “graduated compression” stockings. Blood ‘pooling’ in the calf is lessened by the stocking’s mild pressure. Regular exercise is still necessary and is not replaced by stockings. They complement the workouts.
In most cases, a plaster cast applied on one leg would be removed during travel. Seek guidance from your fracture clinic. Since this is a specialized field, a general practitioner cannot offer advice. Give yourself plenty of time before your flight to obtain a fracture clinic opinion.
Conclusion to to Prevent DVT when Travelling
After the trip, take a little stroll to “get the circulation going.” The great majority of travellers have no issues. However, you should visit a doctor right away if you experience breathing problems or a swollen, painful calf soon after a lengthy trip. Note: A DVT is not the cause of the modest, painless swelling that occurs in the ankles and feet after a long trip.