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‘Untrained masseurs raise risk of vein clots’

Byculla resident Jasbir Bhatti will no longer get a full-body massage every weekend.

mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2012 01:02 IST
Menaka Rao
Menaka Rao
Hindustan Times

Byculla resident Jasbir Bhatti will no longer get a full-body massage every weekend.

Two months ago, after getting rigorous leg massages, Bhatti developed deep vein thrombosis followed by a pulmonary embolism, a life threatening disorder that could damage his lungs and even cause death.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where a blood clot develops in a vein deep in the body. In Bhatti’s case, the clot travelled to the artery in the lungs blocking blood flow, which is called pulmonary embolism.

“I have had four patients who suffered DVT and pulmonary embolism due to rigorous massages,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, who treated Bhatti.

Samdani ruled out other causes of DVT such as medication, history of travelling, prolonged immobilisation, recent surgeries, underlying malignancies, dehydration, among other factors. “One of the known causes of DVT is trauma on the veins. A hard massage is a form of trauma,” said Samdani.

Bhatti, a private tutor, was suffering from ache in his left leg for more than two months. “I would ask my masseur to press my legs really hard. After a few days I felt someone was choking me. My tests showed pulmonary embolism. I have never had any medical problem before this,” said Bhatti, who was admitted to Bhatia Hospital for six days and is now taking medication to dissolve the clot.

Another patient, Ninad Mehta (name changed), 68, had no idea that his 20-year practice of getting a massage every Saturday could harm him. Last week, Mehta developed DVT followed by pulmonary embolism.

“I realise now I should not have employed an untrained masseur,” said Mehta, who is still recovering.

“If an untrained person presses the calf muscles hard, it can cause thrombus or a clot. The clot can migrate to the lung and hamper blood circulation,” said Dr Hasmukh Rawat, consulting cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

A massage can also cause an existing clot to travel to other parts of the body.

“Massage itself is unlikely to cause DVT. But if the clot is already in the vein, a massage can cause it to travel to the lungs,” said Dr NO Bansal, consulting cardiologist, JJ Hospital.

First Published: Jul 03, 2012 01:01 IST