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Can long flights cause DVT?

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22, female. I got off a plane a few hours ago -first leg was a 3hr flight, followed by a 10-minute layover/change of plane and then finally another 90min flight. I had quite tight pants on and quite tight shoes and since I got off the 2nd plane my legs and ankles have been aching. After online research it appears I might have developed DVT...were these flights long enough to cause this? Thanks.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
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Hello, With reference to your query regarding whether you had developed DVT or not. You did travel in a plane first it was 3 hours flight and a break of 10 minutes for a change over and again another 90 minutes flight, then you started noticing aches in your legs and ankles. First and foremost thing is you should be examined immediately by your doctor or G.P and asses the present situation, whether you really developed DVT or a just a sprain. Generally if the travel is either by flight, by car, train and it is more than 4 hours there is every tendency to develop DVT, because most of the time you are being inactive for long periods of time. If there is a risk of developing of DVT even if you travel a small distance in addition to other risk factors like overweight, wearing light clothes, smoking, pregnancy or recently had a baby. Family history of DVT, taking contraceptive pills which contains estrogen or taking hormone replacement therapy, had a DVT before, immobility, thrombophilia, anti phospholipid syndrome, cancer and some inflammatory conditions and so on. To confirm this you get a blood test called a D-Dimer ultrasound and venography. When once it is confirmed you can have few more tests done to know what stage your thrombosis is and the nature of treatment. So let us not worry about that and get you examined either by a doctor or a G.P. as early as possible. Thank you.


Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Experience: 
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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