Find out what a vascular surgeon says about the clear fact that children have a lower chance of getting a DVT from long air travel than are adults.

“Age is a known risk factor for DVT,” says Kevin Casey, MD, FACS, a vascular surgeon with West Coast Vascular.

“I am not able to perform an extensive review of the physiologic differences in children which protect them from the development of DVTs, but just like age is a risk factor for many different types of cancer, it is also a risk factor for DVT development.

“Perhaps it is based on significantly less history of endothelial dysfunction.”

Another vascular surgeon whom I asked about this simply told me, “We don’t know.”

Though “age” is one of the risk factors for a deep vein thrombosis, this doesn’t entirely explain why children are less likely to develop a DVT from prolonged airplane rides than their 30-something parents.

Perhaps it’s because children usually have a harder time sitting still?

Maybe it’s because they’re less likely to put up with the urge to urinate and thus, scramble out of their seats every hour (which provides leg movement) to use the airplane’s restroom?

Whereas their parents and other adults will better tolerate the discomfort until it gets really bad or until the plane lands?

Maybe it’s because children tend to kick and swing their dangling legs, or repeatedly shift position in their seats, while adults can’t readily swing their legs and are better able to sit still and relax?

It would be great if an investigation were made to compare the DVT incidence of children who actually sit still (and fall asleep) on a long airplane ride, with DVT incidence in adults of varying age brackets with comparable immobility during the flight.

Dr. Casey specializes in vascular and vein therapy, and has been the lead researcher on publications examining abdominal aortic aneurysms, carotid artery disease and lower extremity critical limb ischemia.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.