Phlebitis, superficial phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis
Thrombophlebitis is swelling (inflammation) of a vein caused by a blood clot.
The following increase your chances for thrombophlebitis:
There are two main types of thrombophlebitis:
The following symptoms are often associated with thrombophlebitis:
The health care provider can usually diagnose the condition based on how the affected area looks. You may need to have your pulse, blood pressure, temperature, skin condition, and circulation frequently checked to make sure you don't have complications.
If the cause cannot be easily identified, one or more of the following tests may be done:
In general, treatment may include support stockings and wraps to reduce discomfort, as well as medications such as:
You may be told to do the following:
Surgical removal, stripping, or bypass of the vein is rarely needed, but may be recommended in some situations.
For more specific recommendations, see the particular condition (superficial thrombophlebitis or deep venous thrombosis).
Thrombophlebitis and other forms of phlebitis usually respond to prompt medical treatment.
Superficial thrombophlebitis rarely causes complications.
Complications of deep vein thrombosis include a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or chronic pain and swelling in the leg.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of thrombophlebitis.
Call your health care provider promptly if thrombophlebitis symptoms do not improve with treatment, if symptoms get worse, or if new symptoms occur (such as an entire limb becoming pale, cold, or swollen).
Routine changing of intravenous (IV) lines helps to prevent thrombophlebitis related to IVs.
If you are taking a long car or plane trip, walk or stretch your legs once in a while and drink plenty of liquids. Wearing support hose may help.
If you are hospitalized, your health care provider may prescribe medicine to prevent deep venous thrombosis.
Ginsberg J. Peripheral venous disease. In: Goldman L, Shafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 81.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/5/2014
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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