Computer overuse can cause 'e-thrombosis'

As if the risks of RSI were not enough, PC users need to aware of a more deadly danger caused by long periods of physical inactivity sitting at their computer

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has been associated with long haul air travel, but people who work or play for excessive periods at their PCs are also at risk from blood clots, according to a new report. Research published in The European Respiratory Journal reports that a young man in New Zealand nearly died after developing DVT following extended periods of PC use. This first recorded case of "e-thrombosis" occurred after the New Zealand man spent up to 18 hours a day using a computer. He developed a large blood clot that formed in his leg veins, broke off and moved to his lungs. Dr Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, who led the research, warned the widespread use of computers in so many aspects of modern life may put many people at risk of developing DVT. "It may be similar to the situation with the risk of blood clots with long distance air travel," said Dr Beasley, "It was not until there was publicity with individual cases that the real extent of the problem was recognised." According to, Dr Beasley's team is to review the records of other patients who had pulmonary embolisms to see if they can find other e-thrombosis cases. Personal responsibility
Dr Dan Rutherford, of NetDoctor, who has written about DVT, makes the point that personal responsibility is needed. "People need to check that their chairs do not compress the upper and sides of their legs and that there are no sharp edges to the front of the chair. They should take regular breaks. Five to ten minutes an hour to walk around is sufficient," Dr Rutherford said. Advice on DVT is available from BUPA and The Department of Health on travel-related deep vein thrombosis.

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