Coagulation changes and edema formation during long-distance bus travel

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Abstract

Long-distance travel in a cramped position by aircraft or by bus and car has been suggested to be associated with an increased risk for thromboembolic events. Recently, we demonstrated moderate activation of coagulation after a long-haul flight. At present the single contributing factors (i.e. hypoxia and low humidity on board an aircraft and prolonged sitting in an aircraft, car or bus inducing venous stasis) have not yet been investigated. Therefore we measured markers of coagulation and fibrinolysis as well as functional parameters of coagulation using activated thrombelastography in 19 healthy volunteers before, during and after a real 10-h bus journey. In addition, changes in leg volume were measured. Thrombelastography revealed moderate activation of coagulation in all travelers, which was accompanied by a significant increase in prothrombin fragment F1 + 2. Thrombin–antithrombin III complexes and D-dimer remained unchanged, and tissue-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen-activator inhibitor 1 decreased after travel. After the travel we found a significant increase in leg volume that was exclusively distributed in the calf. We conclude that beside long-haul flights also long-distance bus travel induces a certain activation of the coagulation system. Thus, it is questionable whether hypoxia is the crucial risk factor for thromboembolic events after long-haul flights.

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