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Lupus

Air Travel with SVT

07/16/2001

Question:

Please advise if there are any risks concerning Superficial Vein Thrombosis > and air travel. > > My 17 yr daughter has an SVD in lesser sapheous. It extends from her ankle > to the back of her knee. We had numerous blood tests taken with 2 > abnormalities coming back: > > >1. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (this is a genetic gene > >mutation she probably inherited) > >2. Lupus Anticoagulant (questionable) > > We are planning a trip to Hawaii on 7/17 and returning on 7/28 (> > The Hematologist and the internist both said not to cancel the vacation for > health reasons--She would be fine. As a mom, I`m wondering if I`m the only > one worrying here. > > Are there any articles or studies or warnings out there addressing this? > > I have visited www.airhealth.org and printed out exercises for her to do > every hour or so in her seat. > > A speedy reply would be most appreciated. She complained of leg pain on > 6/8. Her clot was diagnosed (vascular ultra sound) on 6/12. She took 6 > aspirins per day for 1 week and now takes nothing. The pain and swelling > subsided between the first and second Ultra Sound, however, the clot got > bigger. After the 6/19 ultra sound her foot and ankle swelled. she was > prescribed Endocin for the swelling and pain--it helped and she is not > taking it now because she does not feel any symptoms. > > SVD Lesser Saphenous Vein of left calf. > > 6/12 Ultra Sound 1 sm, painful clot in center of back of left calf--skin > red, swollen and sore. > 6/15 Ultra Sound showed clot extending from center of back of left calf up > to back of knee. > 6/19 Ultra Sound showed clot extending from back of ankle up to back of > knee. > 7/5 Ultra sound scheduled for 8:00 a.m. > > Thank you for your help. > > Thank you

Answer:

There is nothing mysterious about air travel and clots: sitting at home or in a car for the same period of time would also increase the risk of a clot. If your daughter follows your exercise schedule and gets up and walks through the aisle every hour or so, she should be fine. One way to decrease the risk of future clots would be to continue to take one baby aspirin a day - this decreases the function of blood platelets, which are important in clotting. If your daughter has additional problems with clots in the future she should have a repeat lupus anticoagulant test and a test for anti-phospholipid antibodies to see if her antibody levels have increased. If so, treatment with stronger anticoagulants, such as warfarin, should be considered. Your daughter should also be aware that tobacco smoking and birth control pills increase the risk of developing clots.

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Response by:

Fred Finkelman, MD
Director, Division of Immunology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati