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The “Economy Class Syndrome” : Problems With the Assessment of Risk Factors for Venous Thromboembolism

Paul Egermayer, MA, MBChB
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Christchurch, New Zealand 
 ,  Dr. Egermayer was Senior Research Fellow, Canterbury Respiratory Research Group. He died subsequent to acceptance of this editorial.

Affiliations: Christchurch, New Zealand 
 ,  Dr. Egermayer was Senior Research Fellow, Canterbury Respiratory Research Group. He died subsequent to acceptance of this editorial.



Chest. 2001;120(4):1047-1048. doi:10.1378/chest.120.4.1047
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Anecdotal reports of venous thromboembolism (VTE) associated with air travel have been appearing for > 20 years, to a total of approximately 200 cases, including several sudden deaths.1 These have attracted considerable international publicity. Although such cases are often dramatic, they involve only a tiny proportion of those who travel by air. So far, only two studies have attempted to quantify the risk in a systematic fashion, and these studies have come to opposite conclusions. Ferrari et al2 performed a case-control study of 160 cases that demonstrated a risk ratio of 3.98 for VTE associated with recent travel (95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 8.4); more recently, Kraaijenhagen et al3 conducted a further case-control study of 788 cases and found no association between VTE and travel by air or other means.

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