Travel Health Tips for Deep Vein Thrombosis [infographic]
By James Chimiak, MD
TRAVEL HEALTH | Jun 27, 2018
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Quick Facts About DVT
Deep Vein Thrombosis (or DVT) is a condition where a clot, or clots, form in one or more of the deep veins, usually in the legs.
- The risk for blood clots increases by 10% for every hour spent sitting.
- Blood clots can cause partial or complete blockage of venous circulation, or break free and cause a life-threatening condition.
- Extended immobility during travel increases DVT risk by 2-4x.
- Approximately half of all cases occur without any noticeable symptoms.
Risk Factors for DVT
- Risk increases with age ( > 40 years old)
- Overweight (BMI > 30)
- Estrogen (birth control pills)
- Thrombophilia (an abnormally increased tendency to create clots)
- Active cancer
- Serious medical illness
- History of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
- Recent surgery, hospitalization or trauma
- Limited mobility
- Central venous catheterization
- Swelling in the affected leg, ankle, and foot
- Pain in the calf that spreads to the ankle and foot
- Warmth over the affected area
- Redness or discoloration of the skin
Prevention of DVT
- People who are predisposed to, or have previously suffered DVT should wear compression socks and consult their primary care providers regarding possible benefits from medication.
- Avoid long periods of immobility. Stand up and walk around, exercise your feet and calves.
- Stay well hydrated, avoid alcohol.
Treatment of DVT
- Anticoagulants (aka blood thinners) to prevent clotting
- Filters (aka umbrella) prevent clots that break loose from going to the lungs
- Compression socks and stockings prevent swelling reduce the formation of blood clots
Recommendation if DVT is suspected while traveling: MEDICAL ATTENTION IS NEEDED
Clots that break free will travel upstream and may cause a pulmonary embolism, which could be life-threatening and require immediate treatment. In remote locations, an emergency medical evacuation may be needed.
About James Chimiak, MD
Dr. Chimiak is the Medical Director at DAN where he oversees the organization's emergency management and medical operations. A former U.S. Navy Special Operations, Surface Warfare and Deep Sea Diver, he is also a triple board-certified physician in hyperbaric medicine, anesthesiology, and chronic pain.
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