Choose aisle seat on planes, says study

Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:59am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Mulling over the window or the aisle seat on your next flight? Pick the aisle to help avoid dangerous blood clots -- and flying business class will make no difference, according to a U.S. study.

A review of medical issues associated with commercial flights found that in-flight medical events are becoming more common as more elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions fly and also flights last for longer.

But researchers from the U.S.'s Lahey Clinic Medical Center confirmed that sitting in the aisle can help ward off potentially dangerous deep-vein thrombosis or blood clots.

They found that 75 percent of cases of deep-vein thrombosis were due to people not moving enough and most sufferers were in non-aisle seats where passengers tended to move less.

Mark Gendreau, who led the study, said it made no difference if people were sitting in economy class or business class when it came to blood clots.

Wearing compression stockings has been proven to reduce the risk, said the report published in the British medical journal The Lancet, as well as other common sense recommendations such as drinking lots of water and cutting back on alcohol and caffeine.

Studies showed that the risk of developing blood clots on a flight rose up to four-fold, depending on study methods, with the risk starting to rise on flights of over four hours and peak on flights of more than eight hours.

Gendreau played down concerns about catching an infection off someone on a plane -- unless they were within two rows of you.

And for jet lag, try a dose of melatonin at the bedtime of the desired destination.   Continued...

<p>A flight attendant walks down the aisle during a flight tour for journalists, organized by Emirates airline, in Dubai September 7, 2007. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah</p>