Thrombophlebitis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is thrombophlebitis?
Thrombophlebitis is inflammation of a vein caused by a blood clot (thrombus). Thrombophlebitis can affect deeper, larger veins or veins near the skin surface. Mostly, it occurs in the and legs, but it can develop anywhere.
What causes thrombophlebitis?
A blood clot causes thrombophlebitis. Blood clots are formed due to prolonged inactivity, such as bedridden after surgery or injury, or sitting for too long during a journey or working on a computer. Blood clots also form when something slows or changes the flow of blood in the veins. Many other factors can increase the risk of causing a blood clot.
The following are the risk factors for thrombophlebitis:
- A pacemaker catheter that has been passed through the vein in the groin.
- Fractures in the pelvis or legs.
- The family history of blood clots.
- Recent surgery (such as hip, knee, or female pelvic surgery).
- Bone marrow making excessive blood cells (this causes the blood to be thicker than normal).
- Having an indwelling (long-term) catheter in a blood vessel.
- Giving birth within the last six months.
Blood is more likely to clot in people with following problems or disorders:
- Certain autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
- Cigarette smoking
- Taking estrogens or birth control pills (this risk is even higher with smoking)
What are the symptoms of thrombophlebitis?
The following symptoms can occur in people affected with thrombophlebitis:
- Swelling of the affected body part
- Pain in the affected body part
- Warmth and tenderness over the vein
- Skin redness (present sometimes)
How is thrombophlebitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will examine the affected area and review the symptoms. Usually, a doctor can diagnose thrombophlebitis by closely looking at the affected area.
Your doctor may order one or more of the following tests for confirming the diagnosis:
- Doppler ultrasound
- Blood coagulation studies
How is thrombophlebitis treated?
The goal of the treatment of thrombophlebitis would be to control pain and inflammation. Support stockings and wraps may be recommended to help reduce discomfort.
Your doctor may recommend the following self-care measures:
- Keeping pressure off the area to reduce pain and decrease the risk of further damage.
- Raising the affected leg to reduce swelling.
Your doctor may recommend the following treatment:
- Medications, such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
- Medications injected into the vein to dissolve an existing clot
- Blood thinners to prevent new clots from forming (prescribed only if deep veins are involved)
Your doctor may recommend the following surgical treatments if the problem is severe:
- Vein stripping
- Surgical removal of a vein near the surface
- Bypass of the vein
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.