December 22 21:52 2019 Print This Article

Thrombophlebitis is swelling (inflammation) of a vein caused by a blood clot. When it occurs repeatedly in different locations, it is known as “Thrombophlebitis migrans”. Thrombophlebitis (throm-bo-fluh-BI-tis) occurs when a blood clot causes inflammation in one or more of your veins, typically in your legs. Sterile thrombophlebitis limited to the superficial veins rarely is life threatening, but a thorough diagnostic evaluation is mandatory because many patients with superficial phlebitis also have occult deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which carries very high rates of morbidity and mortality.

There are two parts to thrombophlebitis: inflammation of a vein and blood clot formation. The first reference to peripheral venous disease was recorded on the Ebers papyrus in 1550 BC and documented the potential fatal hemorrhage that may ensue from surgery on varicose veins. Superficial thrombophlebitis most often affects the superficial veins in the legs but may also affect superficial veins in the groin.

Superficial thrombophlebitis is not usually serious, but complications sometimes occur. Such inactivity decreases blood flow through your veins and may cause a clot to form. An inherited tendency for blood clots places you at higher risk of thrombophlebitis. In rare occasions, some cases can lead to infection and tissue damage from the loss of healthy circulation.

Phlebitis should be assumed to involve the deep veins until proven otherwise, because superficial vein thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombophlebitis share the same pathophysiology, pathogenesis, and risk factors. Not all venous thrombi pose equal embolic risk. Deep venous thrombosis presents the threat of producing blood clots that will break loose to form emboli. Studies have shown that isolated calf vein thrombi carry a limited risk of pulmonary embolism. When migratory phlebitis and cancer of an internal organ occur together, the disorder is called Trousseau’s syndrome.

Causes of Thrombophlebitis

The comman causes of Thrombophlebitis include the following:

  • The most important clinically identifiable risk factors for thrombophlebitis are a prior history of superficial phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism.
  • AIDS (lupus anticoagulant).
  • Pregnant women may also develop thrombophlebitis before or shortly after the baby is born.
  • Antithrombin III deficiency.
  • Thrombophlebitis may result from infection or injury that prompts excessive clotting in the veins.
  • People also could develop thrombophlebitis as a complication of intravenous tubes, or IVs.
  • Other risk factors include certain cancers, use of the hormone estrogen (for either birth control or hormone replacement) and family history of blood clots.

Symptoms of Thrombophlebitis

Some sign and symptoms related Thrombophlebitis are as follows:

  • Inflammation (swelling) in the part of the body affected.
  • You may have a fever.
  • Symptoms may be worse when the leg is lowered, especially when¬†first getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Tenderness and pain in the affected area.
  • Warmth and tenderness over the vein.
  • The area may feel hard when you touch it.
  • Skin redness or inflammation (not always present).
  • Swelling ( edema ) of the extremities (ankle and foot).
  • The area may begin to throb or burn.
  • Sometimes phlebitis may occur where a peripheral intravenous line was started. The surrounding area may be sore and tender along the vein.

Treatment of Thrombophlebitis

Here is list of the methods for treating Thrombophlebitis:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation
  • An anti-inflammatory drug, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can help lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • Prescription leg compression stockings (knee or thigh high) improve your blood flow and may help to relieve your pain and swelling.
  • Support stockings and wraps to reduce discomfort
  • Local fibrinolysis is useful when the deep system is involved or threatened, as well as when preserving the patency of a superficial vessel is important.
  • Surgical removal, stripping, or bypass of the vein is rarely needed but may be recommended in some situations.