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|Updated May 5, 2006|
A '92 study by Teenan (see bibliography) said that air travel doesn't just produce DVT. It also causes peripheral arterial thrombosis, most commonly resulting in myocardial ischaemia, heart failure. Dr. Omer Iqbal presented a paper on this at the International Angiology Union World Congress in March 2002. More than half of heart attacks are caused by clots. No one has studied how often these follow air travel.
Arterial clotting can also lead to strokes, about 80% of which are caused by clots. No one has studied how many of these are caused by air travel. About 7% of air travel thrombosis cases in our registry suffered strokes. Fifty years ago stroke was the 11th leading cause of death. Today it is fourth and rising. We do not know how much of the increase is due to air travel.
Aspirin is ineffective against venous clotting but it is somewhat effective against arterial clotting. If you can tolerate aspirin and it won't interfere with other drugs you are taking, an aspirin before air travel is probably a good idea.