The effect of civil and military flights on coagulation, fibrinolysis and blood flow: Insight from a rat model

Anna Levkovsky, Rima Dardik, Daniel Barazany, David M. Steinberg, Mark Dan Kirichenko, Sara Apter, Edna Peleg, Daniel Silverberg, Ehud Grossman, Ophira Salomon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Air travel thrombosis continues to be a controversial topic. Exposure to hypoxia and hypobaric conditions during air travel is assumed a risk factor. The aim of this study is to explore changes in parameters of coagulation, fibrinolysis and blood flow in a rat model of exposure to hypobaric conditions that imitate commercial and combat flights. Methods: Sixty Sprague-Dawley male rats, aged 10 weeks, were divided into 5 groups according to the type and duration of exposure to hypobaric conditions. The exposure conditions were 609 m and 7620 m for 2 and 12 h duration. Blood count, thrombin- A ntithrombin complex, D-dimer, interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 were analyzed. All rats went through flight angiography MRI at day 13-post exposure. Results: No effect of the various exposure conditions was observed on coagulation, fibrinolytic system, IL-1 or IL-6. MRI angiography showed blood flow reduction in lower limb to less than 30% in 50% of the rats. The reduction in blood flow was more pronounced in the left vessel than in the right vessel (p = 0.006, Wilcoxon signed rank test). The extent of occlusion differed across exposure groups in the right, but not the left vessel (p = 0.002, p = 0.150, respectively, Kruskal-Wallis test). However, these differences did not correlate with the exposure conditions. Conclusion: In the present rat model, no clear correlation between various hypobaric conditions and activation of coagulation was observed. The reduction in blood flow in the lower limb also occurred in the control group and was not related to the type of exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalThrombosis Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Oct 2020


  • D-dimer
  • Hypobaric conditions
  • IL-6
  • MRI
  • Thrombin-antithrombin


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