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Economy-class flights and blood clots.

Economy-Class Flights and Blood Clots

Add life-threatening blood clots to the hazards of flying, warn a cardiovascular consultant and colleagues. John Cruikshank, a consultant to ICI Pharmaceuticals in Cheshire, England, and colleagues recently reported that the cramped seating arrangements of many economy-class airplanes slow blood circulation. This leads not only to the swollen calves and ankles typical after long flights, but worse, to clots forming in the legs that can break off and travel to blood vessels around the heart and lungs, which could be deadly.

The researchers said that over a three-year period at Heathrow Airport, 18% of the 61 sudden deaths of long-distance passengers were due to blood clots in the lung. At special risk for in-flight clots, they said, are short people, because they tend to rest their calves on airplane seats, and people with a history of heart or vein problems.

The researchers urged that airlines advise people to exercise on long flights to prevent their circulation from becoming sluggish, and to abstain from alcohol to avoid dehydration, another risk factor for clot formation. (New Scientist 9:8:88.)
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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