What is it?

Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein. Veins are blood vessels in your body that carry blood from your organs and limbs back to your heart. If a blood clot is causing the inflammation, it’s called thrombophlebitis.
Phlebitis can be superficial or deep:
* Superficial phlebitis refers to the inflammation of a vein near the surface of your skin. This type of phlebitis may require treatment, but isn’t usually serious. Superficial phlebitis can result from a blood clot or from something causing irritation, such as an intravenous (IV) catheter.
* Deep phlebitis refers to inflammation of a deeper, larger vein. Deep phlebitis is more likely to be caused by a blood clot (Deep Vein Thrombosis, DVT), which can have very serious consequences such as Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Superficial Vein Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis of Arm
- Deep Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis of Leg
- Deep Vein Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis of Arm
- Femoral Vein Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis
- Superficial Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis of Leg

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of phlebitis affect the arm or leg where the inflamed vein is located. These symptoms include:
*rope- or cord-like structure that you can feel through the skin.
you may also notice pain in your calf or thigh if your phlebitis is caused by a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). If you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood of fainting – this may indicate a Pulmonary Embolism, which is a life threatening complication of DVT and you should get medical care immediately.


Phlebitis can be diagnosed based on your symptoms and an exam by your doctor. You may not need any special tests. If a blood clot is suspected as the cause of your phlebitis, your doctor may order additional tests, including:
* blood tests
* ultrasound of your affected limb
* If the ultrasound doesn’t provide a clear answer, your doctor may also perform a venography (an X-ray of your veins after injecting a special dye), a CT scan, or an MRI scan to check for the presence of a blood clot.
* If a clot is detected, your doctor may want to take additional blood samples to test for blood clotting disorders that could have caused the DVT.


Treatment for superficial phlebitis may include removal of an IV catheter, warm compresses, or antibiotics.
If you are diagnosed with DVT, you may need to take anticoagulants, which make it harder for your blood to clot. If the DVT is very extensive, you may be a candidate for a procedure called a thrombectomy to remove the clot.
If you have a DVT and are at high risk for pulmonary embolism but can’t take blood thinners, Insertion of a filter into one of your major blood vessels, the inferior vena cava, may be recommended to prevent blood clots from traveling to your lungs.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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