Back

Superficial Thrombophlebitis

(Phlebitis; Thrombophlebitis)

Definition

Superficial thrombophlebitis is inflammation of a vein close to the surface of the skin. It occurs most often in the leg. The condition is easily treatable, though it sometimes leads to more serious health concerns.
Thrombophlebitis
si55551333 96472 1 thrombophlebitis.jpg
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Superficial thrombophlebitis is caused by a blood clot in a vein that is close to the surface of the skin.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of developing superficial thrombophlebitis include:

Symptoms

Superficial thrombophlebitis may cause:
A complication of superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot in the deeper veins that causes obstruction of blood flow. This can lead to pulmonary embolism, a serious situation that occurs when the blood clot breaks free and gets lodged in the lungs.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment

In most cases, superficial thrombophlebitis goes away on its own after a few weeks. Treatment can be done at home with the following:
In some cases, the following treatment may be needed:

Prevention

To help reduce your chances of superficial thrombophlebitis, take these steps:

RESOURCES

American College of Phlebology http://www.phlebology.org

The Society for Vascular Surgery http://www.vascularweb.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery http://canadianvascular.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References

McQuillan AD, Eikelboom JW, et al. Venous thromboembolism in travelers: can we identify those at risk? Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2003 Oct;14(7):671-675.

Ramzi DW, Leeper KV. DVT and pulmonary embolism: Part I. Diagnosis. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69(12):2829-2836.

Vandenbroucke JP, Rosing J, et al. Oral contraceptives and the risk of venous thrombosis. N Engl J Med. 2001 May 17;344:1527-1535.

5/4/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Scott G, Mahdi AJ, et al. Superficial vein thrombosis: a current approach to management. Br J Haematol. 2015 Mar;168(5):639-645.

Revision Information