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E-thrombosis

This word has gained some publicity in the UK following the launch on 9 May 2006 — during National Thrombosis Week — of a campaign by the charity Lifeblood to raise awareness among office staff of the risk of being struck down by it. It’s in effect the same condition as the deep vein thrombosis (also called economy class syndrome) that’s occasionally suffered by air passengers. The cause is the same: sitting for long periods in the same position, causing a blood clot to form in a vein in the leg.

Two well-publicised cases have highlighted the risks. One was a Bristol freelance computer programmer, who recently collapsed and almost died after spending 12 hours at his screen without a break. A blood clot formed and moved to his lung, where it created a pulmonary embolism. The earlier case, in 2003, was of a young New Zealand man who spent long sessions at his computer. He, too, suffered a pulmonary embolism.

The term is said to have been invented by Dr Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, who investigated the latter case.

It is feared millions of people could be at risk of e-thrombosis as the average working week has risen to 45 hours and people are working longer hours than they were three years ago.

Western Mail, 15 Apr. 2006

While most of us are aware of the risks of sore eyes or a stiff neck, it appears that lack of movement could make millions vulnerable to a new health risk — e-thrombosis.

Daily Record, 9 May 2006

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 27 May 2006

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

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Last modified: 27 May 2006.