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The influence of meteorological variables on the development of deep vein thrombosis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John SimpsonORCiD


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The influence of weather on deep venous thrombosis (DVT) incidence remains controversial. We aimed to characterize the temporal association between DVT and meteorological variables including atmospheric pressure. Data relating to hospital admissions with DVT in Scotland were collected retrospectively for a 20 year period for which corresponding meteorological recordings were available. Weather variables were calculated as weighted daily averages to adjust for variations in population density. Seasonal variation in DVT and short-term effects of weather variables on the relative risk of developing DVT were assess using Poisson regression modelling. The models allowed for the identification of lag periods between variation in the weather and DVT presentation. A total of 37,336 cases of DVT were recorded. There was significant seasonal variation in DVT with a winter peak. Seasonal variation in wind speed and temperature were significantly associated with seasonal variation in DVT. When studying more immediate meteorological influences, low atmospheric pressure, high wind speed and high rainfall were significantly associated with an increased risk of DVT approximately 9-10 days later. The effect was most strikingly demonstrated for atmospheric pressure, every 10 millibar decrease in pressure being associated with a 2.1% increase in relative risk of DVT. Alterations in weather have a small but significant impact upon the incidence of DVT. DVT is particularly associated with reduction in atmospheric pressure giving weight to the hypothesis that reduced cabin pressure in long haul flights contributes to DVT. These findings have implications for our understanding of the pathogenesis of DVT.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Simpson AJ; Brown HK; Murchison JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Year: 2009

Volume: 102

Issue: 4

Pages: 676-682

ISSN (print): 0340-6245

ISSN (electronic): 0344-7618

Publisher: Schattauer GmbH


DOI: 10.1160/TH09-04-0214

PubMed id: 19806252


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