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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Clots & Anticoagulants

Question: Travel after having a DVT (blood clot)

 tmill009 - Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:01 am

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick quesiton regarding DVTs.

My dad is 79 years old and about 18 months he had a DVT in his right leg (after having a knee operation).

I was just wondering whether or not it is safe for him to travel by air since having his DVT???

Would travelling overseas on a plane be dangerous?


 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Fri Jun 11, 2004 11:10 am

User avatar Although the added risk of developing a DVT caused by travelling appears to be low, it can be reduced even further by exercising the legs at least once every hour during long-distance travel. This means taking regular breaks if driving, or walking up and down the aisle of a coach, train or plane.

The muscles of the lower legs (which act as a pump for the blood in the veins) can be exercised while sitting by pulling the toes towards the knees then relaxing, or by pressing the balls of the feet down while raising the heel.

Other preventive measures:
    Don't take sleeping pills. These cause immobility, increasing the risk of DVT
    Drink adequate fluids
    Avoid smoking
    Avoid beverages which contain alcohol and/or caffeine both before and during the flight
    Avoid crossing legs when seated
    Walk around the cabin whenever you can
    Stand up in your seat area and stretch your arms and legs
    Carry out the foot and leg exercises: as stated earlier.
    Wear loose fitting comfortable clothes when travelling
If you have any of the additional risk factors listed below, you should seek medical advice before travelling. In particular, you should discuss:
    The advisability of anti-embolic stockings
    The advisability of low dose aspirin before flight
    The advisability of anti-coagulant medication or other prophylactic measures before flight
Some doctors recommend taking aspirin or their anticoagulant before travelling because of its blood thinning effects. If in doubt, seek advice from a doctor.

People who have one or more of the risk factors mentioned earlier should seek medical advice before travelling.

Anyone who develops swelling or pain in the leg, or breathing problems after travelling should seek medical advice urgently.

Risk factors for DVT:
major injuries, or paralysis
surgery, especially if it lasts more than 30 minutes, or involves the leg joints or pelvis
cancer and its treatments, which can cause the blood to clot more easily
pregnancy and childbirth - related to hormone changes that make the blood clot more easily and because the fetus puts added pressure on the veins of the pelvis. There is also risk of injury to veins during delivery or a caesarean. The risk is at its highest just after childbirth
taking a contraceptive pill that contains oestrogen. Most modern pills contain a low dose, which increases the risk by an amount that is acceptable for most women
hormone replacement therapy (HRT). For many women, the benefits outweigh the increase in risk.
other circulation or heart problems

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