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Welcome to the Economy-Class Syndrome website

Economy-class syndrome is a name that has been used by the media to describe a medical condition called VTE - Venous Thrombo-Embolism that can occur in anyone - but has been of particular worry in travellers.

The term VTE simply means:

Venous - Happening in the veins usually in the deep veins in the leg

Thrombo - Blood Clots a blood clot is called a Thrombus

Embolism - Clots flying off in the blood stream - something moving along in the blood stream is called an Embolus.

In economy-class syndrome, VTE covers 2 main conditions that can affect travellers:

1. DVT Deep vein thrombosis
2. PE Pulmonary Embolism

Advice for travellers - and in particular air travellers:

Keep hydrated - Drink water and fruit juice - avoid caffeine (tea, coffee, fizzy drinks with caffeine)

Keep moving - Wiggle your toes and feet; move around when able to

Wear graduated support stockings - designed for travel These garments increase the flow of blood in the veins and reduce the risk of clots - this is explained in the next few pages

Aspirin??? - Aspirin certainly thins the blood by stopping the "platelets" in the blood from working - BUT Aspirin can aggrevate stomach ulcers AND Aspirin has not been shown to have an effect in veins - therefore it is of doubtful use in DVT prevention.

This web site has been written by Mr Mark Whiteley MS FRCS(Gen) FRCSEd MBBS, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at The Whiteley Clinic.


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