17 July 2009
The risk of developing a venous thromboembolism (a blood clot that forms in the veins of the leg, which can travel to another part of the body, usually the lungs) rises by 18 per cent for each 2-hour increase in the duration of travel, including being seated in road and air transport vehicles.
The largest meta-analysis study (a statistical technique that summarises the results of several other studies) to date on the link between travel and venous thromboembolism (VTE), including 14 studies and more than 4000 cases of VTE, showed there was a 3 times greater risk associated with any travel. For air travel specifically, risk increased by 26 per cent for every 2 hours in a plane (Ann Intern Med 2009, in press).
They said low-cost, low-risk interventions, including getting up and walking, and increased hydration, should be emphasised.
Last Reviewed: 17 July 2009