Computers can kill, researchers have warned in the latest issue of European Respiratory Journal.

New Zealand's Medical Research Institute researchers have uncovered evidence that sitting for long hours at a computer terminal can cause fatal blood clots or deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) - in a similar way to the so-called 'economy-class syndrome' identified in air travellers.

The report discusses the case of one computer user who became afflicted by a swollen calf; the pain lasted ten days and went away. A few weeks later he became increasingly breathless and then lost consciousness. He had developed a potentially fatal DVT.

A researcher said: "He would sit for one or two hours and not infrequently as many as six, without standing up from his work station." It's the first reported case of such a condition, which the researchers have called "e-thrombosis".

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