Scientists Confirm Dangers
Of Traveling Economy Class
By Celia Hall

Economy class passengers who suffer cramped conditions on long haul flights are at risk of developing blood clots in their legs, experts have decided.
The existence of "economy class syndrome" has been disputed, but research published in The Lancet today says an increased risk of venous thrombosis is real. Doctors put 20 healthy men in a low pressure chamber which created the air pressure of 7,000ft above sea level, the pressure in aircraft cabins. They were told to avoid exercise and blood samples were taken after eight hours.
Dr Bjorn Bendz and colleagues from the Haematological Research Laboratory, Ulleval, Oslo, found that concentrations of compounds associated with clotting had increased to between two-and-a-half and eight times the initial levels.
Dr Bendz says: "Despite the lack of an adequate control group our study suggests that rapid exposure to air pressure in aeroplane cabins activates coagulation. This activation is probably highly relevant and may contribute to the increased risk of venous thrombosis. Although rare in flights, venous thrombosis is serious and potentially fatal."
He urges airlines to advise passengers to perform leg exercises regularly and to take non-alcoholic drinks. Last month, British Airways announced that it was taking part in similar research following the death of Emma Christoffersen, 28, of Newport, Gwent, after a 20-hour flight from Australia.
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