When Dinesh (he requested that we use only his first name), an Information Technology professional from Thane, complained of sudden breathlessness at work, his colleagues and family thought he had a case of viral flu. However, after he developed severe difficulty in breathing a few weeks ago, his family rushed him to Jupiter Hospital in Thane, where they were shocked to learn that he had developed what is now referred as ‘e-Thrombosis’. The condition, doctors said, is a variant of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where there is clotting of blood in the legs, seen commonly in people taking long haul flights in cramped seats. Doctors believe that the lifestyle change over the last decade with the penetration of technology into office and homes has made several professionals whose work involves sitting in front of the computer for 12 to 14 hours the worst hit.
“I spend close to 12 hours on my seat as I am supporting the hardware at various locations. At times, I am in office for 14 hours also, without taking long breaks. If I take breaks regularly, I might have to spend an additional hour in office to finish my tasks for the day,” said Dinesh, 31.
Dinesh’s cardiologist, Dr Vijay Surase, said that he had no other risk factors apart from spending long hours of sitting. “People like Dinesh sit continuously on their seat and they fail to understand the damage it can have. There is formation of blood clots in the leg which can travel to the lungs and lead to pulmonary-embolism. In case where the clot which reaches the lung is massive, it can even be fatal,” said Dr Surase, who is also treating another professional in his 30s with e-Thrombosis.
It is not just information technology professionals who spend long hours before a computer who are at risk of getting e-Thrombosis. Take the case of Laxman Saraiya, 37, who was hospitalised for a week after he developed sudden breathlessness. Saraiya, who manages a video-game parlour in Thane, sits at his computer terminal for about 10 to 12 hours on a daily basis. “I cannot leave my parlour and walk around. I had repeated swelling in my legs which would subside with basic medicines from my local doctor. It was only when I felt breathless, we went to a hospital,” said Saraiya who spends Rs4,000 on a monthly basis on a drug which he takes daily to avoid any further clot formation.
DVT is commonly seen in bedridden individuals, patients hospitalised for months owing to the immobility. Recently doctors have started treating IT professionals- video gamers and computer operators with the condition. “Even people who stand for long hours can develop the condition,” said Dr VT Shah, cardiologist, Surana Hospital.