Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a con-
dition in which a clot, or thrombus,
typically forms in a deep vein in a
leg. People with a DVT may notice pain and
swelling in the leg where the clot has formed,
though smaller clots may not cause any symp-
toms. The major problem occurs when a part of
the clot breaks off and flows to the lungs. This
condition, called a Pulmonary Embolus (PE),
can cause severe injury or death. DVTs are
known to occur in about out of 000 people
in the general population from all causes.
The condition has been erroneously dubbed
Economy Class Syndrome by some people be-
cause of the perception that passengers in the
more restrictive coach or economy class of
the aircraft are more likely to develop DVTs.
Recent research, however, has found that
passengers in any seating class of the aircraft
may develop a DVT. Research indicates that
any situation where one’s activity is limited
for long periods – a long automobile drive
or train ride, for instance – may contribute
to a DVT. For this reason, the term Traveler’s
Thrombosis is more appropriate.
The precise cause of Traveler’s Thrombo-
sis, while currently not clear, appears to be
related, in part, to long periods of sitting and
inactivity. The decrease in activity may lead
to inadequate circulation of the blood in the
legs. In addition, the veins may be slightly
constricted, which could also impair circula-
tion in the legs.
Other conditions that alter blood flow or
normal clotting mechanisms may make some
people more likely to develop a DVT. Some of
these risk factors include a prior DVT, certain
heart diseases, cancer, pregnancy, smoking,
older age, and some blood clotting disorders.
Recent major surgery or trauma is also a risk
Certain medications may also contribute to
formation of the thrombus. Birth control pills
and related hormones have been found to
make some people slightly more susceptible
to forming DVTs.
Not all DVTs cause noticea