April 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts April 1999 Current Issue
April 1999
AppleShort Cuts:

ARE LONG FLIGHTS KILLING YOU? It sounds like a figurative question, but researchers now say travelers who sit for more than five hours in planes, cars or trains are at “relatively high risk” of getting blood clots in their legs. The clots cause pain and swelling, and they can dislodge and move to the lungs, resulting in a deadly pulmonary embolism.

An article in CHEST, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, reported the findings of cardiologists in Nice, France, who studied 160 cases of blood clots treated during a three-year period. Almost 25 percent of the patients recently completed a journey lasting longer than five hours.

Sitting still for long periods decreases blood flow to the legs. Flying introduces the complication of high-altitude cabin pressure, associated with dehydration and diminished urine output, which reduce fluid content in the blood plasma and possibly can lead to coagulation.

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