THROMBOPHLEBITIS- Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis


Thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory disease that causes a blood clot to form and block one or more veins, most often in the legs, and is caused by a weakened immune system. Trauma, surgery, and prolonged inactivity are all possibilities for the development of this condition.

Deep vein thrombosis, often known as DVT, increases your risk of developing serious health problems. Blood-thinning medications are also used to treat superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a kind of thrombophilia.


Two types of thrombophlebitis include:

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)- is when there is an injured vein inside a muscle. 
  • Superficial Thrombophlebitis- the injured vein is found on the skin’s surface. 


Signs and symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis include:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Soreness, warmth, and discomfort in the affected area

When a vein at the skin’s surface is injured, a red, rough cord may appear just under the skin’s surface. Meanwhile, your leg may become bloated, sensitive, and painful if a deep vein in the leg is damaged.


Your doctor will question you about your pain and check for damaged veins near the surface of your skin to diagnose thrombophlebitis. However, to determine if you have deep vein or superficial thrombosis, your doctor may order an ultrasound.

During the ultrasound, sound waves are sent into your leg via a wand-like instrument (transducer). Then, a computer converts the sound waves that pass through your leg tissue into a moving picture on a television screen.

Furthermore, a blood test helps diagnose and differentiate deep vein and superficial thrombosis. Almost everyone with a clot has increased levels of D dimer, a naturally occurring clot-dissolving chemical. There are additional reasons for D dimer elevation. So, a D dimer test isn’t definitive but may point to further testing.

It may also rule out DVT and identify individuals at risk of thrombophlebitis.


If you have superficial thrombophlebitis, your doctor may recommend using heat or taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It generally gets better on its own.

Moreover, for both types of thrombophlebitis, your doctor may additionally recommend the following treatment:

Blood-thinning medications. An anticoagulant drug may be beneficial if you have DVT. It will most likely instruct you to take warfarin (Coumadin) or rivaroxaban (Xarelto) for many months following the first therapy.

Other treatments include:

  • Compression stockings
  • Varicose vein stripping
  • Clot-dissolving medications
  • Vena cava filter

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