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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Air Travel

At the present time, there is no conclusive medical evidence supporting the alleged connection of deep vein thrombosis…

At the present time, there is no conclusive medical evidence supporting the alleged connection of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) with long distance travel. Nonetheless, a number of further studies are underway and IATA Members are very much aware of the need to minimise any potential risks, said IATA Director General Pierre J. Jeanniot, in letters to Mme. Loyola de Palacio, Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Transport and Mr. Norman Mineta, United States Secretary of Transport.

Many long-haul carriers have, over the years, developed practices and advice to their passengers aimed at increasing awareness of ways to enhance their comfort and safety. IATA has refined these and other ideas into practical precautionary guidelines for all carriers.

At the time of reservation, travellers should be:

  • Informed of the risks of DVT and that research is currently being conducted
  • Encouraged to seek medical advice before travelling if they had any family history of DVT or had any medical condition which might pose a risk when flying (e.g. recent surgery, malignancy, hormone treatment, abnormalities in blood circulation, etc)

Prior to boarding and again on board, passengers should be encouraged to:

  • Drink sufficient fluids
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Avoid smoking and alcoholic beverages
  • Perform physical exercises in their seats (particularly for feet and legs). However, passengers should not be encouraged to walk about the aircraft, as this could compromise safety in the event of unexpected turbulence

A proposal for a health warning to be included with notices on the passenger ticket is currently under consideration. IATA willtaking part in a meetof World Hh OrganisationGenevaMarch, on subject of deep vein thrombosis and is itself orga worldwideference on cabin hhGeneva on17-18 May.

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