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April 2002 Vol. 17, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Diver Dies from Blood Clot During Flight

from the April, 2002 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The second British diver in less than a year has died of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) while flying home from a vacation. Alayne Wake, 28, succumbed to DVT during her thirteen-and-ahalf- hour Singapore Airlines flight in December. Just thirty minutes before the plane was to land, she collapsed after leaving her seat to visit the toilet. Fellow passengers, including a doctor, a nurse, and paramedics where unable to help her.

DVT has been dubbed “economy class syndrome” because of the suspected link between blood clots and cramped flying conditions. DVT develops during long periods of inactivity, and is characterized by a blood clot, often in a leg, which travels to the lungs or heart. Clinical signs can appear up to a week or even a month after the clot has formed.

Airlines recommend that passengers reduce alcohol intake, drink adequate fluids, wear loose clothing, and perform leg exercises while seated. Blood-thinning agents such as aspirin and dark chocolate also minimize risk.

Ms. Wake was an advanced diver who had been on a trip to Bali the week before her death. Her father said, “I imagine, like the vast majority of the flying public, she thought DVT was something that happens to somebody else. I didn’t think it could happen to someone who is 28.”

The Scotsman

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