Superficial thrombophlebitis is inflammation of a vein close to the surface of the skin. It occurs most often in the leg. The condition is easily treatable, though it sometimes leads to more serious health concerns.
is caused by
a blood clot
in a vein that is close to the surface of the skin.
Factors that increase your chance of developing superficial thrombophlebitis include:
Superficial thrombophlebitis may cause:
A complication of superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition called
deep vein thrombosis
(DVT). This is a blood clot in the deeper veins that causes obstruction of blood flow. This can lead to
pulmonary embolism, a serious situation that occurs when the blood clot breaks free and gets lodged in the lungs.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include the following:
In most cases, superficial thrombophlebitis goes away on its own after a few weeks. Treatment can be done at home with the following:
In some cases, the following treatment may be needed:
To help reduce your chances of superficial thrombophlebitis, take these steps:
American College of Phlebology
The Society for Vascular Surgery
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
Public Health Agency of Canada
McQuillan AD, Eikelboom JW, Baker RI. Venous thromboembolism in travelers: can we identify those at risk?
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Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
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