Research from the MRINZ has recently shown that prolonged seated immobility at work is an important yet previously unrecognised risk factor for venous thromboembolism, comprising deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism (aka blood clots). The focus has now turned to preventive measures to reduce this risk. This year we have shown that it is feasible to implement a small footstool (the Legflow device) in a work office environment. We have previously shown that this device markedly increases lower limb blood flow, thereby potentially reducing the risk of blood clots, in people who sit for long periods at work or with long distance air travel. In line with this, we have also been investigating the risk of blood clots in patients who have injured their lower leg and have been placed in a leg cast as part of their treatment plan. We have found that this patient group contributes to one in every seven cases of blood clots, representing the largest potentially preventable risk factor for blood clots.
Comment: Through this research programme, we aim to develop a comprehensive package of interventions for the prevention of venous thromboembolism in situations in which prolonged seated immobility cannot be avoided.