Traveler’s thrombosis is a disorder that affects blood circulation causing the formation of thrombi (clots) in the deep venous system of the calves or thighs. These clots appear during long trips that involve sitting for hours in the same position, without moving the legs, with the knees bent and/or still. On this occasion, Dr. Víctor Cohaila, vascular surgeon at Clinica Ricardo Palma, will give us more information on the subject.
The main risk factors are:
- Suffer from a blood disease (hemophilia, lupus disease)
- Keep your knees bent and your legs immobile for more than 3 to 6 hours
- Suffer from heart failure
- Suffer from obesity
- Have severe varicose veins in the legs
- Having recently suffered a superficial or deep thrombosis
- Wearing tight clothing such as garters or girdles that hinder venous circulation
- Having had a recent surgery
- Use oral contraceptives
Among the most common symptoms we find:
- Leg swelling (the difference between one leg and the other is noticeable)
- Redness of the skin
The evaluation of traveler’s thrombosis is clinical. The specialist will perform a blood test, Doppler ultrasound, among other studies, to have a more accurate diagnosis.
Treatment consists of the use of anticoagulants and antithrombotic stockings or elastic bandages. It is advisable to walk and not take very long rests.
Complications include pulmonary embolism. This occurs when the anticoagulants do not have an effect, leaving the thrombus impacted in the venous trunk, generating a syndrome called post-thrombotic syndrome, where the clot can migrate or break off traveling to the lungs. It manifests with a feeling of suffocation, sudden shortness of breath and/or pain that intensifies with breathing. The disorders can appear during the trip, ending it or days later.
Our specialist recommends performing exercises during the trip to flex and stretch the legs, move the feet and ankles up and down and in circles, as well as stopping to walk a little every 2 hours so that the blood circulates.
Dr. Víctor Cohaila
Vascular surgeon at Clínica Ricardo Palma