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  1. "e-thrombosis"

    Clot risk: Long hours in front of the computer can cause DVT.

    Computer users at risk of 'e-thrombosis'

    Sitting for long hours at a computer terminal can cause fatal blood clots in the same way as taking a long flight in cramped seating, doctors say.

    In the latest issue of the European Respiratory Journal, New Zealand researchers report the case of a 32-year-old man who suffered a swollen calf, with the pain subsiding 10 days later.

    In the ensuing weeks, however, he became increasingly breathless when he exerted himself and then one day lost consciousness.

    The cause was a massive blood clot that had formed in his leg veins, broken off and travelled to his lungs - a potentially fatal "deep vein thrombosis" (DVT) identical to that sometimes suffered by travellers on long flights.

    The patient used to sit immobile at his computer screen, at work and at home, for 12 hours a day, and on occasions for up to 18 hours.


    First report

    The authors, led by Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, based in Wellington, said: "He would typically sit for one to two hours, and not infrequently as many as six, without standing up from his work station.

    "This is the first reported case of an association between repeated prolonged immobility sitting at a computer and life-threatening (lung embolism)," they write.

    They suggest the condition be called "e-thrombosis".

    DVT as a result of prolonged sitting was first recognised during the Blitz in World War II, when cases of fatal embolisms emerged among Londoners who sat for long periods in deckchairs in air-raid shelters.

    More recently, DVT has emerged as a potential, though remote, risk for travellers on long flights.

    It has been dubbed "economy-class syndrome" because the phenomenon occurs more frequently among passengers in cramped seating, although researchers say it can occur in any seating where passengers are immobile.

    The British High Court last month blocked a bid by 55 DVT victims who had filed suit against 27 airlines, alleging that the carriers had breached their duty of care because of their cramped seating.

    It ruled that the plaintiffs had no case under the 1929 Warsaw Convention on air travel as DVT was unexpected and could not be considered an accident in the normal operating of an aircraft.

    DVT occurs when the flow of blood is restricted in a vein and a clot forms.

    It can also be caused by poor circulation because of problems such as heart disease, a recent heart attack or stroke, varicose veins, or from inactivity or prolonged bed rest.

    Pregnant women, people who are overweight, the elderly, smokers and people with coronary heart disease and certain blood conditions are considered to be most at risk.

    To prevent it, doctors suggest flexing one's toes and ankles, drinking water and avoiding alcohol, as well as getting up to stretch one's legs at least once an hour.

    An aspirin, which helps to thin the blood, can also help.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Teshiee
    I would like to say being that I work in the unit that permits little down time I am not worried about getting DVT. I would assume taking frequent breaks with stretching or a light walk could curtail the problem?
  4. by   Stargazer
    Oh, not to worry. My legs are vestigial appendages which dropped off ages ago.

    Hee. Actually, it's not a problem because, home or work, I'm jumping up like a spaz every 10 minutes because I just thought of something I have to do or someone I have to talk to.
  5. by   nursedawn67
    I have legs????
  6. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by Stargazer
    Hee. Actually, it's not a problem because, home or work, I'm jumping up like a spaz every 10 minutes because I just thought of something I have to do or someone I have to talk to.
    LMAO! That is so what I do on my days off!

    Hit allnurses, run into the basement to switch loads of laundry, hit refresh, check the mail, hit refresh, make a cake, hit refresh, watch Law & Order, hit refresh on commercials......

    Hubby says I'm not even still when I'm sleeping.

    But it is uncomfortable when I've been sitting with one leg folded underneath me for awhile. Ouch!

    Heather
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    (Checking myself for Homan's Sign)...

    Negative. Whew!
  8. by   boggle
    And all this time I just thought I had big calves.
  9. by   Jenny P
    Recently one of my co-workers actually DID have a huge DVT that broke loose at work and she coded on us from the PE! However, her DVT was not caused by sitting around in front of a computer for hours. (She's doing fine 3weeks later, BTW; just scared the daylights out of everyone and made us all feel vulnerable and mortal! I'm glad I wasn't there at the time: probably would have wet myself if I was....)
  10. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    If this was actualy true, wouldn't there be a large cross-section of those that make thier living wage in front of a computer terminal(ie:computer operators,network administrators,help desk operators) be keeling over constantly? These types have other lifestyle risk factors, such as smoking, high stress enviroment, nutrients consist mainly of donuts and coffee.

    Seems to me that sedentary jobs have risk factors that would make these thrombi into easy scapegoats for companies selling ergonomic work stations........uhmmm?
  11. by   cwazycwissyRN
    no DVT's however if I sit here long enough I definetly get TB
  12. by   BladderMouth
    Wow! This is interesting to know about...My son designs Video Games and is at his computer sometimes 12 to 14 hours too.

    I am going to have to mention this to him..He is only 28 ...I sure don't want this to happen to him.

    Thanks for the Info.
  13. by   opalmRN
    Legs are....... Yup they're fine but I am worried about my behind.

    It's been numb for years could there be a problem?
    C
  14. by   renerian
    I am on line alot for work and pleasure. Going to stretch more.

    renerian

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