Richard Moor - Feb 20, 2012

DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, is a serious condition which may become fatal. Researchers from The American College of Chest Physicians released a study linking window seats in airplanes with DVT development. Luckily, it is not a hopeless battle and there are ways to prevent it.

There have been many theories dealing with the causes of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and long and frequent flights were included at the top of the list. Originally, passengers in the economy class were in the centre of such – rather unwanted – attention due to the very limited, tight space of their seats.

Business class travelers were deemed “safe” thanks to having a more spacious and comfortable flying environment. However, researchers from The American College of Chest Physicians have recently published a new study which claims that in fact it is the window seats which are most worrying.

Passengers sitting in a window seat are less inclined to get up and move around. The static pose and lack of movement increases the risks of developing DVT, research has shown.

In fact, the experts recommend wearing compression stockings during the flight to prevent blood clots from developing due to limited circulation. The guidelines appeal especially to travelers from the risk factor groups, such as the elderly, smokers, the obese, also pregnant women or travelers with an existing health condition.

What one can do to help minimize the risk of DVT is drink lots of fluids when on board, especially during flights longer than 10 hours. Avoiding or limiting alcohol is highly advisable.

The best approach is stretching the legs once in a while to make sure they do not get stiff and the blood circulation is sufficient. Airlines have also included brief instruction videos for easy exercises their passengers may try during the flight to prevent swelling.

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