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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the percentage of people diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis who had taken a long haul flight in the preceding week in each year since 1997; [129794](2) what research his Department has

(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on travel-related deep vein thrombosis, with particular reference to the use of compression hosiery as a preventative measure; and if he will make a statement; [129795]

(3) what guidance his Department has given to long haul air travellers on deep vein thrombosis. [129796]

Hospital episodes statistics can provide data on numbers of admissions with a primary diagnosis relating to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, no information is available to assess how many of these were for patients who had undertaken a long haul flight within the preceding week.DVT is linked to older age, cancer, trauma, surgery, long periods of immobilisation, oral contraception, pregnancy and a number of conditions related to hyperactive blood clotting.The Department has not commissioned any specific research on the use of compression hosiery as a preventative measure for DVT, although we are aware of existing research in this area.In 2001 the Department of Health issued information and advice to the airlines and the public about minimising the risk of DVT during long journeys. This included practical advice for air passengers on long haul flights. It also identified certain groups which may be at a higher risk of DVT and advised them to seek medical advice before travelling and described simple in-seat exercises that should be recommended to all air passengers.

To maximise access for the public to this information and advice it is available through health services, on the internet at from the airlines and from NHS Direct. It will be kept under review in the light of new research information.