Thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory condition of the circulatory system. The prefix “thrombo” means clot. The suffix “phlebitis” means inflammation of the veins. Simply, thrombophlebitis is a condition that happens when a blood clot forms in one of your veins, obstructing blood flow and causing an inflammatory reaction. Thrombophlebitis most often affects a person’s lower extremities, but it can happen in your arms or other veins in your body.
Thrombophlebitis can affect veins near superficial thrombophlebitis or deep veins (deep vein thrombosis). Superficial thrombophlebitis may resolve on its own throughout a couple of weeks; overtime this is managed well with conservative treatments such as leg elevation, heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain meds like ibuprofen. On rare occasions, the clot can lead to an infection that could cause tissue damage if left untreated. You will likely need antibiotics to treat an infection from a blot clot.
Deep vein thrombosis is a more serious health concern, as it can lead to more significant medical complications. These may include:
The most common causes of thrombophlebitis include vein injuries, an inherited clotting disorder, or prolonged periods of inactivity. Certain risk factors can make a person more susceptive to developing thrombophlebitis. They include:
Discuss prevention strategies with your doctor if you fall into any of these categories.
As mentioned, superficial thrombophlebitis affects the superficial veins at the surface of the skin. The most common symptoms include:
The excellent news about superficial thrombophlebitis is that it is usually not a significant health concern. There’s a myriad of things you can do to ease your current symptoms and aid in prevention. Often, treatment for superficial thrombophlebitis uses a few lifestyle modifications and adjustments to the daily routine. For example, sitting or standing for long periods can lead to venous insufficiency. To encourage proper blood flow and prevent blood clots, take regular breaks from sitting or standing to move around. This movement promotes healthy circulation. If you work in an office, try scheduling daily walks during your break. Taking walks will elevate your feet when sitting, and make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Dehydration prompts the body to store energy by decreasing blood flow. When oxygen-rich blood stops its delivery in intended volumes to our muscles, the result is lethargy and fatigue.
Deep vein thrombosis requires treatment by a vascular specialist because of the increased risk it poses for developing PE. Migratory thrombophlebitis, also referred to as Trousseau's Syndrome is another type of clotting disorder that can be serious if left untreated. Trousseau’s Syndrome is when the blood clot comes back in a different part of your body, it is associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. This cancer looks like a clot forming in one leg and migrating to the other leg.
Blood thinner medications are successful treatments to control high-risk thrombophlebitis cases. It’s important to discuss your options with your healthcare provider to give you the best outcome. Our specialists at South Valley Vascular can help treat thrombophlebitis and alleviate your symptoms. Call us today for a consultation!