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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18897
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I developed large bilateral central and lobar pulmonary emboli

Customer Question

I developed large bilateral central and lobar pulmonary emboli in hospital following a motorcycle crash (T4,T5 &T7) fractures. How dangerous is a 3 hr flight after 2 weeks?.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.

It is generally recommended to avoid air flight for 4 weeks after an episode of venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolus. However, the exact risk that is associated with flying has not been well defined in a clinical study. The recommendation against flying has been based on case reports and the understanding of what causes risk for thrombosis and embolus, rather than on a clinical study that can define the exact level of danger involved in flying.

Since the risk is not well defined, doctors and patients can only make decisions based on the fact that it is likely to be an increased risk. However, if the flight is necessary for an important situation, such as an illness in a family member or close friend, it may still be appropriate to accept the risk of a plane flight. But in most cases, if the trip can be postponed, that would be a preferable option.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

what effect does cabin pressure have on my condition?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
There are a couple of risks associated with plane flight. It is thought that the slight decrease in cabin pressure during flight increases the tendency to form blood clots. The relative inactivity also is a factor in increasing the tendency to form blood clots.

Both of these factors obviously affect everyone on the flight, but it is thought that someone with a recent thrombosis or embolus is already tending to form blood clots,so that these factors have a greater impact on these people.