A new airline seat that allows more leg movement during a flight, lowering the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), has been developed by a team in Israel.
Harry Abramowitz and David Gertz, both from the Department of Surgery and the Vascular Surgery Unit of Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem, conducted research in which volunteers sat on a normal airline seat continuously for five hours, and then the modified seat for five hours. The venous volume of their leg calves was measured before and after both tests.
The research showed that 23 out of 25 volunteers saw improvements in the blood flow to their legs after using the modified seat.
“These are extremely promising results,” said the creator, Israeli entrepreneur Arnold Jonas.
By pressing a button, the front quarter of the seat rises up, lifting the passenger’s legs off the floor, enabling swinging leg movement between the seats. The swinging movement increases blood circulation and compresses the passenger’s calf muscle against the cushion. It is also possible to automate the chair’s movements.
Aside from helping blood circulation, the seat also provides a more comfortable sitting and sleeping option for passengers, by providing an additional four inches of leg support.
The Shaare Zedek study began late last year and was completed recently. It concluded: “The results of this study suggest that a modification of this kind, by enhancing venous empting and reducing venous stasis, removes what is considered to be major, if not the principal, risk factor for VTE [pulmonary embolism] during prolonged air travel.”
Mr Jonas is now looking to approach airline companies and air seat manufacturers. “If people are willing to pay a premium of $1,500 to sit in business class, I’m sure they would be willing to pay an additional $50 to sit on a seat that could give them a chance to avoid DVT,” said Mr Jonas.