Thrombophlebitis

Definition

Thrombophlebitis is swelling (inflammation) of a vein. A blood clot (thrombus) in the vein can cause this swelling.

Causes

Thrombophlebitis may affect deeper, larger veins or veins near the skin surface. Most of the time, it occurs in the pelvis and legs.

Blood clots may form when something slows or changes the flow of blood in the veins. Risk factors include:

Blood is more likely to clot in someone who has certain problems or disorders, such as:

Symptoms

The following symptoms are often associated with thrombophlebitis:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider can usually diagnose the condition based on how the affected area looks. Your provider will frequently check your vital signs. This is to make sure you don't have complications.

If the cause cannot be easily identified, 1 or more of the following tests may be done:

Treatment

Support stockings and wraps can help to reduce discomfort. Your provider may prescribe medicines such as:

You may be told to do the following:

Rare treatment options are:

Outlook (Prognosis)

Prompt treatment can treat thrombophlebitis and its other forms.

Possible Complications

Complications of thrombosis include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have symptoms of thrombophlebitis.

Call your provider right away if:

Prevention

Routine changing of intravenous (IV) lines helps to prevent thrombophlebitis related to IVs.

If you are taking a long car or plane trip:

If you are hospitalized, your provider may prescribe medicine to prevent thrombophlebitis.


Review Date: 1/10/2016
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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