Window seats on planes raise disease risk

Deep vein thrombosis just as likely if you sit in business class

If you’re on a long-distance flight, choose an aisle seat. That’s the advice of doctors facing growing numbers of patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The American College of Chest Physicians has just issued a report published in the journal Chest, which advises air passengers not to sit by the window because of the restrained position. The longer the flight is, of course, the greater the risk. It also says that the risk of DVT is exactly the same in business class or first class as it is in economy class.
“Long distance travellers sitting in a window seat tend to have limited mobility, which increases their risk for DVT,” the report says.
Deep vein thromboses are blood clots that usually develop in the legs. If it breaks away, a clot can cause a pulmonary embolism – a blockage in the lungs that is potentially fatal. The good news for fliers is that the doctors said they found no “definitive evidence” that drinking alcohol raises the DVT risk. However, a passenger is at increased risk if he or she has recently had surgery.
[pictured: The Rolls-Royce Trent 500 powers the Airbus A340-500/600; copyright © Rolls-Royce plc 2010]


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