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Phlebitis and Superficial Blood Clot in Varicose Vein

Phlebitis and Superficial Blood Clot in Varicose Vein

Posted on September 18, 2013 by Dr. Stephen Rivard

How can Varicose Vein treatment help prevent Phlebitis, DVT, and Blood Clots. 

In 2003, more than 70 public health organizations gathered in D.C. to discuss the media filled reports regarding blood clots and their prevention, eventually creating a Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and in March the following year "Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Month" was born.  Since that time DVT has become well known for its nomenclature, but doctors have just begun to understand the link between thrombophlebitis and treating varicose veins

Phlebitis comes in two main forms: superficial and deep vein thrombophlebitis (DVT). Phlebitis is simply vein inflammation. Thrombophlebitis, however, occurs when there is poor blood flow in the veins causing blood to clot leading to inflammation of the vein walls. Often this blood clot irritates the vein lining in one or more areas of your veins, and generally causes pain while blocking venous blood flow. Thrombophlebitis commonly occurs in lower extremities, like your legs, and may rarely occur in your arms or neck.   

Phlebitis can be superficial, meaning that it arises in the superficial veins under the surface of the skin. Since these superficial veins are close to the surface of the skin, patients will notice that their veins have become red, hardened, and sensitive to the touch. Alternatively, deep vein thrombophlebitis (DVT) refers to a blood clot in the deeper veins, which can lead to the serious, potentially life-threatening embolus thrombophlebitis.  Embolus thrombophlebitis is when a piece of the thrombophlebitis breaks off and travels in the veins, referred to as an embolus. This blood clot can then become dislodged, obstructing or completely blocking the pulmonary arteries or moving into the blood vessels of the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. The results of which often causes chest pain, difficulty breathing, and sometimes death.

What are some common causes of Phlebitis? 

Phlebitis, varicose veins and sptreider veins share many similar possible causes:

  • Long rest periods or inactivity, especially as the result of post-op orthopedic procedures.
  • Trauma or a sports related injury to the leg that weakens or breaks the veins.
  • Heredity
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking oral contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills)

What are some common symptoms of Phlebitis?

Additionally, phlebitis, varicose veins and spider veins share many similar possible causes: 

  • Pain and swelling in the leg.
  • Sudden onset of leg cramps or restless leg.
  • Large Bulging Varicose Veins.
  • Swelling, redness, and/or tightness of skin around the vein.
  • Burning or uncomfortable feeling around the vein.

These symptoms may feel worse when the affected area (such as a leg) is lowered, particularly in the morning or during long plane rides. 

How can treating your Varicose Veins help?

As in the case of diagnosing varicose and spider veins, the proper medical evaluation is necessary to diagnose the type and severity of the phlebitis. Frequently, the blood clot from superficial thrombophlebitis will turn into scar tissue and deform the vein valve. If the the blood that flows in the vessel continues to travel upward this is normal. If the blood flows backward, however, this means that there is venous reflux, which symptoms, those of varicose veins, eventually occur, including leg swelling, pain, and even leg ulcers.  

The presence of superficial phlebitis does not necessary suggest that the patient has an underlying DVT, as superficial phlebitis is typically benign. However, if the thrombophlebitis occurs in the saphenous vein it can be a sign of an underlying case of DVT. Therefore, although superficial phlebitis is rarely serious, the right treatment methods performed by a Board Certified Phlebologist and the use of an ultrasound by a certified ultrasonographer is necessary to diagnose the type and severity of the phlebitis and correct the problem area.  

 

For more information download our Patient Guide! 

DOWNLOAD A Patient's Guide to Treating Varicose & Spider Veins

 

 

Tagged Varicose Vein Treatment, phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, superficial thrombosis, superficial phlebitis, phlebitis symptoms, phlebitis treatment, deep vein thrombosis, dvt

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