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PC overuse causing 'e-thrombosis'?

People who work or play for excessive periods at their PCs risk developing blood clots that could lead to deep vein thrombosis, according to a new report.

Deep vein thrombosis has been associated with long-haul air travel, but people who work or play for excessive periods at their PCs are also at risk of developing blood clots that could lead to DVT, 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, then broke off and moved to his lungs.

Dr. Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, who led the research, warned that the widespread use of computers in so many aspects of modern life could 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 Beasley. "It was not until there was publicity with individual cases that the real extent of the problem was recognized."

According to a report from, Beasley's team is to review the records of other patients who had pulmonary embolisms to see if they can find other cases of e-thrombosis.

Dr. Dan Rutherford, of NetDoctor, a health care communications company in Europe, has written about DVT and makes the point that personal responsibility is important. "People need to check that their chairs do not compress the uppers 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-10 minutes an hour to walk around is sufficient," Rutherford said.

ZDNet U.K.'s Andrew Swinton reported from London.