JENKINTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- The summer travel season is here, and with it, many long plane and car trips.

Those raise the risk of DVT, deep vein thrombosis or blood clots in the legs.

However, knowing what contributes to them can help travelers prevent the clots.

"I'm very adventurous," notes Jonathan Griffin.

From deep sea diving to whitewater rafting, Griffin does it all.

But a few years ago, shortly after knee surgery, even simple tasks left him breathless.

"Going up and down the steps, I was breathing heavy. I had to stop," Griffin recalls.

He thought he needed to lose a few pounds.

A short time later, on a trip to Mexico, Griffin's zip lining adventure was marred by the same problem on each climb to the starting point.

"I had to stop physically and sit down, because I was totally out of breath. And I still was thinking, I gotta lose some weight," he recalls.

When it happened while he was just driving, something clicked, and he headed for Temple Hospital.

X-rays showed a clot in his knee and more in his lungs.

"Like a lot. Like it was almost a miracle that I was even here," he says.

He was taken into a procedure room, where the clots were broken down with an innovative catheter developed at Temple.

The Bashir catheter's expandable basket puts drugs right into the clot, dissolving blockages in half the time.

Vascular surgeon Dr. Frank Schmieder says Griffin's knee surgery two months earlier raised his DVT risk.

However, there can be other factors, such as medications.

"Birth control pills, hormonal therapy - that can predispose you for it. There are chemotherapy medications that predispose you for it," says Dr. Schmieder.

Heart or kidney failure, smoking, and traveling more than five or six hours in a confined space can lead to DVTs.

"We do recommend to move about, we do recommend to flex your legs, too. Wear support stockings, too," says Dr. Schmieder.

"So identifying it immediately, identifying a cause, both of these things are very, very important," adds Dr. Schieder.

Thoracic specialist and surgeon Dr. Parth Rali says artificial intelligence will soon be a vital tool in detecting blood clots faster.

Dr. Rali says there's a need for better diagnostic tools because symptoms can be somewhat vague and can be missed, or misdiagnosed.

Plus urgent care centers and even some emergency departments don't have the necessary ultrasound.

"Your Doppler ultrasound of the legs may happen at 9 a.m., you may not get the results back till like 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. that day," says Dr. Rali.

AI can find lung clots as soon as the patient comes out of the scanner.

"The AI software is able to read the findings of it - positive or negative, and notifies the clinician. So you are saving at least five or six hours per patient in terms of diagnosis and initiating the treatment," he says.

That translates to less strain on the heart, which makes lung clots so dangerous.

Dr. Rali says repeated ultrasounds can do more harm than good.

"You may manually dislodge the clot by pressing on it, because that's what you need to do with an ultrasound," he says.

Dr. Rali says Temple has been using the AI for lung clots since mid-2022, and he expects the AI software will be used for leg clots soon.

Griffin no longer needs any blood thinner, not even baby aspirin, and he's back to his adventurous life.

"I'm supposed to be going camping with all my grandkids," he notes.

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