The goal of treatment is to reduce the pain, control the inflammation and prevent complications.

Phlebitis

Phlebitis (superficial thrombophlebitis or SVT) is inflammation of a vein just beneath the skin due to a blood clot. The condition is diagnosed by physical examination and confirmed by Duplex Ultrasound. If there is associated fever or malaise, blood cultures may be necessary.

Causes of Superficial Thrombophlebitis

This condition may occur due to injury to the vein, or after having an intravenous (IV) line catheter.  It may also occur for no apparent reason.

Other causes of superficial thrombophlebitis include:

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Infection

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Pregnancy

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Use of birth control pills

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Chemical irritation of the area

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Prolonged standing or immobility such as prolonged bed rest or sitting during travel in aircraft or automobiles

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Abnormal clotting factors in the blood (genetic)

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Presence of varicose veins in the legs

Superficial thrombophlebitis may be associated with:

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Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Factor V Leiden mutation

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Prothrombin gene mutation

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Certain abdominal cancers, such as colon cancer or cancer of the pancreas

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Other rare conditions such as Antithrombin III (AT-III), Protein C and Protein S deficiencies

Symptoms of Superficialthrombophlebitis

Contact a Medical Professional if you develop any of these symptoms, or if you already have the condition and your symptoms worsen or do not get better with treatment.

Redness of the skin (rubor)

Warmth to the touch (calor)

Localized pain (dolor)

Loss of function (difficulty walking)

Hardening of the vein (lump)

Cellulitis

Treatment of Superficial Thrombophlebitis

The goal of treatment is to reduce the pain, control the inflammation and prevent complications. To achieve these goals, your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Drainage of the blood clot under local anesthesia
  • Application of warm compresses
  • Wearing medical-grade compression stockings
  • Leg elevation
  • Antibiotics, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Resituating an existing IV to a different site, if it is deemed to be the cause of the phlebitis

Risks of Thrombophlebitis

If undue delay occurs in treatment, the blood clot can grow in size and extend into the deeper veins, creating a more serious condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Prevention of Superficial Thrombophlebitis

  • Avoid prolonged immobility
  • Move your arms and legs frequently
  • Take a stroll during prolonged air travel or car trips
  • Walk as soon as possible after surgery
  • Wear compression stockings

Pittsburgh Vein Center is an Accredited Facility for Vascular Testing through IAC. 

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) programs for accreditation are dedicated to ensuring quality patient care and promoting health care and all support one common mission: Improving health care through accreditation®.

Pittsburgh Vein Center is an Accredited Facility for Vascular Testing through IAC. 

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) programs for accreditation are dedicated to ensuring quality patient care and promoting health care and all support one common mission: Improving health care through accreditation®.

Pittsburgh Vein Center is an Accredited Facility for Vascular Testing through IAC.

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) programs for accreditation are dedicated to ensuring quality patient care and promoting health care and all support one common mission: Improving health care through accreditation®.