Superficial Thrombophlebitis: Symptoms And Treatment

It is the condition which is present in the veins. It is actually an inflammation of veins which is called phlebitis. When it occurs recurrently in different locations it is called “Thrombophlebitis migrans” or “migrating thrombophlebitis”. The causes for this are a lot, to mention some of the few are as follows:

It is usually related to thrombus in the vein and the reaction of the vein to the thrombus in the form of inflammation. Risk factors which are responsible for it are prolonged sitting and disorders related to clotting of the blood. There are some disorders related to this condition. These specific disorders include Superficial Thrombophlebitis and Deep vein Thrombosis. The former condition cause veins near skin surface and the latter affects deeper veins and larger veins. It can be a non metastatic manifestation of malignancies such as pancreatic carcinoma

This condition presents some typical symptoms as follows:

  • The condition which affects a particular part present with pain which is an obvious symptom.
  • As it is an inflammation there is redness of the skin present mostly.
  • Due to inflammation there is presence of swelling due to edema of the extremities such as ankles and the foot.


The appearance of the area helps the doctor to diagnose this condition. Regular check up is required to rule out the complications of this condition. Frequent checks of pulse, blood pressure, temperature, skin condition, and circulation is required.

Sometimes the cause for thrombophlebitis is not diagnosed appropriately which leads us to run some diagnostic tests like Doppler ultrasound, Extremity arteriography and blood coagulation studies.


Routine changing of intravenous lines (IV) helps in ruling out complication related to IV.

The treatment includes medication such as analgesics to fight with the pain; NSAIDs such as ibuprofen are used to reduce pain and inflammation, anti coagulants such as warfarin or heparin for prevention of formation of new clots. To dissociate the thrombus thrombolytics are used to lyse the clots such as intravenous streptokinase. Presence of infection makes us to choose a particular antibiotic to deal with the infection. To support the patient and to reduce the discomfort stockings and wraps are used.

Patient is advised to do elevate the leg to prevent swelling, avoid pressure to affected area, to apply moist heat to affected area for reducing the pain and inflammation. The patient is advised the surgical removal of, stripping or bypass of the vein which is recommended on many occasions if it leads to serious complication. Thrombophlebitis usually responds to the prompt medical treatment.


The complication of it are rare but still on some occasions it shows certain manifestations. The serious complication is seen when the clot in the vein moves out from its position and enter into systemic circulation. It can travel to heart and lungs and occlude dense capillary network of the lungs leading into another serious condition called pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition can be a life threatening condition.

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