Venous thromboembolism in commercial airline pilots

Commercial airline pilots are occupationally exposed to factors that may influence health negatively, but the incidence of VTE in commercial air line pilots has not previously been examined in a prospective setting

Commercial airline pilots are occupationally exposed to factors that may influence health negatively, such as cosmic radiation, jet fuel and cabin pollutants, and are susceptible to certain types of cancer. Long-haul air travel also increases the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), but the incidence of VTE in commercial air line pilots has not previously been examined in a prospective setting.

This issue was recently addressed in a publication from researchers at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands. They followed a total of 2630 male pilots recruited from the Dutch aviation society for a mean of 8.3 years, and compared the incidence of VTE in this group with that of the general Dutch population and with that of a group consisting of employees of international companies, some of which were frequent long-haul flyers.

During follow-up, 6 VTEs occurred among the pilots. Compared to the general population, pilots had a 20% lower risk of VTE, while it was 30% lower compared to the employees of international companies.

No association between flight hours per year or the rank of the pilots and VTE risk was observed. The reduced incidence rate of VTE in commercial airline pilots may be explained by their health status being better than that of the general population, as there are strict selection procedures for becoming a pilot and close health monitoring of the profession (a so called healthy-worker effect).

Also, pilots have less cramped seating conditions than passengers. Finally, pilots who develop VTE may do so shortly after the start of their employment, and subsequently seek different jobs.

 

The article is published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis:

Reference: Kuipers S, Venemans-Jellema A, Cannegieter SC, van Haften M, Middeldorp S, Büller HR, Rosendaal FR. The incidence of venous thromboembolism in commercial airline pilots: a cohort study of 2630 pilots. J Thromb Haemost. 2014;12:1260-5



Page administrator: Helle Jørgensen
created: 21.08.2014 14:29
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