Almost a quarter of UK adults will fly long-haul (over four hours) on holiday or business this year, but are perhaps unaware that one in 25 will suffer an asymptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT). There are 67,000 DVTs diagnosed in the UK every year and travellers are at an increased risk due to blood to pooling in the legs caused by being immobile in their seats for so long.
A YouGov survey commissioned by Isobar Compression, which make the world’s only exact-fit compression garment, has revealed the dangers travellers are exposed to as they fail to realise the risks of DVT whilst flying. In this survey, only 25 per cent of UK adults surveyed taking a long-haul flight this year said that they are concerned with DVT, whilst 76 per cent said they would not wear compression socks to specifically minimise DVT risk.
The risk of DVT is higher for those with a risk factor such as being obese, pregnant, on the contraceptive pill or had recent surgery.
The survey showed that age is a factor in people’s perceptions of DVTs, with 53 per cent of those surveyed believing that older people are more at risk of getting DVT during travel. Although older people are more likely to suffer from venous conditions such as leg ulcers which require compression, any adult can suffer a DVT if they are immobile for long period when travelling.
Professor Charles McCollum, Professor of Surgery and Head of Academic Surgery at the University of Manchester and Isobar Chief Medical Advisor said, “The results of the YouGov survey show that travellers are putting themselves at unnecessary risk of potentially life-threatening DVTs because they either believe they are not at risk, or are too young for it to be relevant to them.
“But with one in 25 travellers suffering asymptomatic DVTs and in view of the long-term risk of chronic aching and leg swelling with venous ulcers in the elderly, this is a serious concern for any long-haul traveller, no matter their age.
“Isobar Compression delivers the precise pressures needed to prevent DVT. This is something that cannot be achieved by any existing shop-bought compression stocking as these are only available in five standard sizes and often don’t fit well enough to be effective.”
Half of those surveyed will exercise their calves to avoid DVT, which is recommended by airline companies. However, half of their customers do not exercise. Importantly, adequate compression using a precisely-fitted flight sock improves the pumping action of the calf during these exercises.
A study by K Bowling in 2015 has shown that off-the-shelf socks do not fit 98 per cent of people and for 54 per cent of those, off-the-shelf socks had a negative effect at times meaning it impeded blood flow.
The NHS recommends wearing well-fitting compression garments to prevent venous blood pooling and encourage blood flow out the leg. Isobar Compression’s solution is to provide a compression sock that is bespoke to the individual, guaranteed to fit and deliver the right pressure to reduce DVT risk. The custom-fit Isobar flight sock has been proven to halve blood pooling.
Isobar Compression’s unique, portable 3D scanner captures 260,000 data points from the patient’s limb and uses this precise profile to produce an exact fit flight socks for the individual leg with the precise pressure gradients required to improve blood flow. No other system in the world can do this and as the flight socks fit perfectly, they are also more comfortable than standard products.