LOOK: CHILDREN'S HEALTH - I Got DVT Playing My Video Games; JANE WOODHEAD Talks to a Schoolboy Who Blames an Afternoon on the Computer for His Deep Vein Thrombosis

Article excerpt

Byline: JANE WOODHEAD

DOMINIC Patrick is an active teenager. The 14 year - old plays football three times a week, together with cricket and rug by and also represents his school in cross country.

But despite this Dominic still became the victim of deep vein thrombosis -a condition which according to medics is a growing problem among our youngsters - after he spent a one- off afternoon playing computer and video games.

``It was raining so I decided to go and see my friend,'' says Dominic, from Bebington.

``We ended up playing on the computer and with video games for the majority of the day and I was sitting with my legs underneath my bottom.

``Later that evening my leg started to feel tired and I had pins and needles. My calf also became swollen and very sore.''

Dominic's father,David, says: ``Dominic came home from his friend's house complaining of pains in his legs. We just thought it was growing pains but when he continued to say he was in pain we took him to hospital. The hospital agreed it was probably growing pains.''

It was a week later, when Dominic was still complaining of being in pain, that he returned to hospital and DVT was diagnosed. He was immediately prescribed Warfarin -a blood thinning drug -which he took for 10 months.

Dominic's experience shows just why experts are warning parents that a lack of exercise means the risk of youngsters developing blood clots is increased.

And they say the age group showing the fastest increase in DVT -a condition traditionally associated with adults -are the under 15s.

Dr Russell Keenan,consultant paediatrician haematologist at Alder Hey Hospital,explains: ``The types of lifestyles which our children are leading will result in problems for them in later life. Take a 15-year- old for example, who has a poor diet and does no exercise, they can expect to face significant problems when they are in their mid-thirties.

``Medical evidence proves that there is a link between poor lifestyles and blood clots. Children should be walking to school and should be out running in the playground and exercising.''

But Dominic is the exception. He is a healthy child and far from being a couchpotato,he follows a good diet and says he is always on the go.

Dr Keenan says: ``The fact that Dominic was kneeling down with his feet beneath his bottom without moving for several hours is the most likely cause of the DVT.

``Although he is an active child, this just shows that DVT can affect other children especially when they remain in one position without moving for lengthy periods of time.''

Dominic still returns to Alder Hey Hospital for regular blood checks.

David says: ``It is unbelievable that something like this can happen to a child who is so active.

``I think what happened to Dominic should act as a warning to parents. …