Workers who spend excessive amounts of time at their desk could be putting their lives at risk, research suggests. The Medical Research Institute in New Zealand found they may have a higher risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots, BBC Online reports.


The researchers found a third of patients admitted to hospital with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) were office workers who spent hours at a computer. The study will be published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.


DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein. The clot can travel to the heart, lungs or brain, causing chest pain, breathlessness or possible death from a heart attack or stroke.


The condition has been dubbed “economy class syndrome” because passengers on long-haul flights without space to stretch out were considered as most at risk.


The New Zealand team examined a sample of 62 people admitted to hospital with blood clots, and found 34 per cent had been sitting at their desk for long periods.

In comparison, 21 per cent had been on a long flight. However, the researchers accepted more people sit at their desk for long periods, than travel on long flights.

Lead researcher Professor Richard Beasley said some workers who developed clots sat at their screens for 14 hours a day.

“Some of them were going three to four hours at a time without getting up,” he said, adding the problem was most common in the information technology industry and in call-centres.