Capitol Vein Blog

Monday, January 23, 2012

WARNING: Higher Risk of Blood Clots While Flying For Varicose Vein Sufferers

The Washington Post recently published a dramatic piece about an air traveler who developed leg swelling, pain and shortness of breath after long trans-ocean flight. His emergency room diagnosis? Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots - and they were life threatening.

It is well known that prolonged inactivity can predispose even healthy legs to poor flow in the veins, leading to clots. Sitting in a cramped coach class seat for hours compounds the problem. When patients have varicose veins, this risk of clotting is increased even further, as the flow in the large skin veins is sluggish and often in a reverse direction. 

That is why treatment of varicose veins is medically indicated when they cause symptoms such as leg aches, swelling, fatigue, and restless legs. Treatment is recognized by medical insurers as medically necessary, not cosmetic. The procedures are all office-based and performed under local anesthesia, with immediate recovery. VNUS Closure, ClariVein and phlebectomy are common procedures.

To help reduce risk when flying, be sure to get up and walk the aisle every few hours, use support hose to encourage normal vein flow, and be aware that leg swelling or pain after your travel may indicate the need for medical evaluation and ultrasound to ensure you do not have a blood clot.

If you have questions or concerns about your varicose veins, feel free to visit our website for more information. Better yet, schedule an evaluation by Dr. Rosenberg or Dr. McNeill at any of the four offices in Maryland, Virginia or West Virginia.


Vascularcme said...

Having a venous ultrasound for people who have the symptoms of DVT is essential, however as you know Dr. Rosenberg all ultrasounds are not equal.

Dr. Rosenberg said...

Thanks for the comment. Agree about the vascular ultrasounds which is why having a credentialed RVT perform the test is critical. Many vein offices use a general ultrasonographer who despite best efforts, is usually not adept at studying the nuances of venous insufficiency or blood clots.

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