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Great saphenous vein thrombosis 05091312009.jpg
Radiological image showing Thrombosis of the Great Saphenous Vein.
Classification and external resources
Specialty cardiology
ICD-10 I80, I82.1
ICD-9-CM 451
MedlinePlus 001108
MeSH D013924

Thrombophlebitis is phlebitis (vein inflammation) related to a thrombus, which is a blood clot.[1] When it occurs repeatedly in different locations, it is known as thrombophlebitis migrans, migrating thrombophlebitis or Trousseau's syndrome.[medical citation needed]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The following symptoms are often (but not always) associated with thrombophlebitis:[2]Although, note that thrombophlebitis is not restricted to the veins of the lower limbs (leg), but can also occur in arm veins.


Deep vein thrombosis of the right leg

Thrombophlebitis (another medical term is "White Leg") is related to a thrombus in a superficial vein. Risk factors include disorders related to increased tendency for blood clotting, injury to vein wall, and reduced speed of blood in the veins such as varices and prolonged immobility. Prolonged traveling by car or airplane may promote a blood clot leading to thrombophlebitis but this occurs relatively rarely. Specific disorders associated with thrombophlebitis include superficial thrombophlebitis (affects veins near the skin surface), deep venous thrombosis (affects deeper, larger veins), and pulmonary embolism. High estrogen states such as pregnancy, estrogen replacement therapy, or oral contraceptives are associated with an increased risk of thrombophlebitis. Those with familial clotting disorders such as Protein S deficiency, Protein C deficiency, or Factor V Leiden are also at increased risk of thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis can be found in people with vasculitis including Behçet's disease. Thrombophlebitis migrans can be a sign of malignancies such as pancreatic carcinoma (Trousseau sign of malignancy).[3]


Not all superficial thrombophlebitis is benign [4] Complications are rare, but when they occur they can be serious. The most serious complication occurs when the superficial blood clot is associated with a deeper venous thrombosis; this can then dislodge, traveling through the heart and occluding the dense capillary network of the lungs; this is a pulmonary embolism which can be potentially life-threatening.


The health care provider makes the diagnosis primarily based on the appearance of the affected area. Frequent checks of the pulse, blood pressure, temperature, skin condition, and circulation may be required. If the cause is not readily identifiable, tests may be performed to determine the cause, including the following:


Routine changing of intravenous (IV) lines helps to prevent phlebitis related to IV lines. See the specific disorders associated with thrombophlebitis for other preventive measures.



The individual 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 and surgical removal, stripping, or bypass of the vein is rarely needed but may be recommended in some situations.In general, treatment may include the following medications:


Thrombophlebitis and other forms of phlebitis usually respond to prompt medical treatment.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Torpy JM, Burke AE, Glass RM (July 2006). "JAMA patient page. Thrombophlebitis". JAMA. 296 (4): 468. doi:10.1001/jama.296.4.468. PMID 16868304. 
  2. ^ "Thrombophlebitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  3. ^ "Superficial Thrombophlebitis". 2014-04-21. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  4. ^ Venous Review The Official Journal of Center for Vein Restoration

Further reading[edit]