3 Dangerous Jobs That Put You at Risk for Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a serious health condition. And with the kind of work environment existing today, people are more prone to developing fatal blood clots. So, what are some of these “dangerous jobs” that could put you at risk for pulmonary embolism? Read on to find out.

Ice and Commercial Fishing

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this type of job is plague with high fatality rates. In fact, during the 6th season of the Deadliest Catch by the Discovery Channel, viewers worldwide witnessed the death of one of the fishing boat captains, Phil Harris, due to massive stroke secondary to pulmonary embolism (PE).

fishing boat

Image source: www.morguefile.com

Further review of data from 2000-2010 showed that 7% of deaths among fishermen were caused while diving and 31% fell off the boat. Both of these factors could trigger dislodging or formation of clots. (1)

Ice fishing is dangerous because it involves prolonged periods of inactivity. And any sudden, harsh activities could cause clots in the legs or pelvic deep veins to travel to the lungs.

Being a Pilot or Flight Attendant

Studies show that 3 hours of air travel time is not enough to cause alarm. However, there’s growing evidence that flights that last for 8 hours or more could increase the risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, if other risk factors are present. (2)


Image source: www.morguefile.com

For instance, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) sufferers are likely victims of this condition. It can cause a number of exacerbations among these sufferers due to the clots.

In a systematic review of Dr. Jacques Rizkallah and colleagues, results showed that DVT has a higher prevalence rate (24.7%) among hospitalized patients diagnosed with COPD than outpatients or patients in the emergency room (3.3%). (3)

Day Jobs

Does your job leaves you stuck in your desk with minimal leg room for hours? Then you’d better start moving those legs and body. Reports reveal that jobs or tasks that restrict movement and involve prolonged sitting could double (or even triple) the risk for fatal blood clots.

desk job

Image source: www.morguefile.com

To decrease the chances, be sure to move around more. Flex your feet and swing your legs. Use your break time to do some short workout routines. And when signs, like pains in the calf, start to surface, don’t hesitate to immediately consult a competent doctor.

Fortunately, though it’s possible, it’s not 100% guaranteed that people engaged in these kinds of jobs will experience such serious health conditions, like pulmonary emboli. One way to avoid this is to live a healthy and clean lifestyle.


(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last updated: 2013 July 1. Commercial Fishing Safety.

(2) Thomas Schwarz, MD, Gabriele Siegert, MD, Wolfram Oettler, MD, et al. 2003 December 8/22. Venous Thrombosis After Long-haul Flights. JAMA Internal Medicine. Vol. 163, No. 22.

(3) Jacques Rizkallah, MD, Don D. Sin, MD, FCCP, S.F. Paul Man, MD, FCCP. 2009. Prevalence of Pulmonary Embolism in Acute Exacerbations of COPD. Medscape Multispecialty. Pages 786-793.

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