Thrombophlebitis is phlebitis (vein inflammation) related to a thrombus (blood clot).
Signs and symptoms
The following symptoms are often associated with thrombophlebitis:
Inflammation (swelling) in the part of the body affected
Pain in the part of the body affected
Skin redness (not always present)
Warmth and tenderness over the vein
The following increase your chances for thrombophlebitis:
Being hospitalized for a major surgery or with a major illness
Disorders that make you more likely to develop blood clots
Sitting for a long period of time (such as on a long airplane trip)
There are two main types of thrombophlebitis:
Deep venous thrombosis (affects deeper, larger veins)
Superficial thrombophlebitis (affects veins near the skin surface)
For more specific recommendations, see the particular condition. In general, treatment may include the following:
analgesics (pain medications)
anticoagulants e.g. warfarin or heparin to prevent new clot formation
thrombolytics to dissolve an existing clot such as intravenous streptokinase.
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation
antibiotics (if infection is present) selection will usually depend with the causative agent.
Support stockings and wraps to reduce discomfort
The patient may be advised to do the following:
Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling.
Keep pressure off of the area to reduce pain and decrease the risk of further damage.
Apply moist heat to reduce inflammation and pain.
Surgical removal, stripping, or bypass of the vein is rarely needed but may be recommended in some situations.
Not all superficial thrombophlebitis is benign.
Routine changing of intravenous (IV) lines helps to prevent thrombophlebitis related to IVs.
If you are taking a long car or plane trip, walk or stretch your legs once in a while and drink plenty of liquids. Wearing support hose may help.
If you are hospitalized, your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent deep venous thrombosis.