Travel habits of VKA anticoagulated patients

Anticoagulated patients yearn for travelling to distant countries. However, for many VKA-patients the risk of travelling seems to be high. Often well-meant advice of the doctors confirm these fears.

Prof. J. Ringwald checked up this question and he interviewed VKA-patients by questionnaire. Questionnaires of 997 VKA-Patients from Austria, Switzerland and Germany were evaluated.

Has the travel activity changed because of the intake of vitamin K antagonists? After all 43,4 % of the participating patients say yes. It showed that about half of the patients were travelling more and the other part was travelling less. Patients who have always travelled frequently maintained their habit even after beginning the intake of VKAs. 93 % of the travelling anticoagulated patients have had no health restrictions.

"A high education level of patients, performing PSM, travelling at least once per year before OAT, and the duration of OAT were independent variables for an increased travel activity after onset of OAT. Overall, the rather low complication rate indicates that travel seems to be safe for patients under OAT. Specific medical advice prior to travel to prevent complications should be given especially to patients with former bleedings and thromboembolic complications as well as to patients performing PSM."*

The reports of VKA-travellers show: It is necessary to minimize the risks while travelling in distant countries and to adapt the INR-tests to the local conditions.

Christian Schaefer (

*(Ringwald J, et al., Travel habits and complications in patients treated with vitamin K antagonists: A cross sectional analysis, Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease (2014),