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Updated May 5, 2006
Airhealth.org

Symptoms

Dr. Stanley Mohler, Director of Aerospace Medicine at Wright State Medical School, calls this the Stealth Disease because symptoms usually don't show up until several days or more after the flight.

If you feel any of the symptoms listed below, see a doctor.You will probably forget exactly what symptoms to watch for, so carry the wallet-size Leaflet. After 30 days you are probably safe, but you must still avoid surgery for three months. If surgery is unavoidable, see the article by Patel referenced in the bibliography.

Leg symptoms (Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT) may appear during flight or in the next few days.
  • Sudden swelling in one lower leg. (A little swelling in both legs is normal in flight.)
  • Cramp or tenderness in one lower leg.
  • Bruise or swelling behind knee.
Chest symptoms (Pulmonary Embolism, PE) usually appear 2-4 days or more after the initial blood clot, which you may not have noticed:
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing, panting
  • cramp in your side, painful breathing
  • chest pain, sometimes accompanied by shoulder pain
  • fever
  • coughing up blood
  • fainting (often the first sign, especially in older people)

Tell the doctor that you have flown recently and that you suspect a blood clot.

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