Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Treatment
If you suspect that you may have developed a DVT, you should immediately contact your physician or go to an emergency room. Be sure to mention that you have recently completed a long journey, as that information may aid in making the correct diagnosis. Different procedures will be used to check for the presence of a DVT and to evaluate a possible pulmonary embolus, if indicated. If a DVT or PE is found, then you will usually be started on a blood thinner to help prevent the clot from becoming larger while it slowly resolves.
Warfarin is an oral 'anticoagulant', a medication taken by mouth to reduce the formation of blood clots. It is prescribed for conditions such as some heartbeat irregularities, artificial heart valves, clotting in veins, heart attack or stroke. Too much warfarin may lead to serious bleeding, and too little will not prevent clotting. Warfarin must be taken exactly as prescribed and must be monitored with regular lab tests.
Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Prevention
Since it has not been scientifically established that there is a direct relationship between DVT and flying, there may be no need for specific preventive methods. However, some practices may be found to be beneficial:
- Increasing leg muscle activity during long periods of sitting improves blood flow in the legs. This may include walking around the cabin or exercising your lower legs and ankles while seated.
- Drink plenty of water, and avoid drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- Some recommend taking short naps, instead of long ones, to avoid prolonged inactivity.
- Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and don't smoke.
If you have any of the risk factors for DVT, consult your physician before long trips. If indicated by a physician, special support socks or stockings can reduce blood pooling in the legs and blood thinning medications may be prescribed.
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2009