Deep Vein Thrombophlebitis
Deep vein throbophlebitis (DVT) affects larger blood vessels deep in the legs. Blood clots can form and could possibly break off and travel to the lungs. This is known as pulmonary embolism and is potentially a life-threatening situation.
Risk Factors for Deep Venous Thrombophlebitis (DVT)
• Prolonged inactivity
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Cigarette smoking
• Hormone replacement or birth control pills
• Medical conditions such as cancer or blood disorders
• Varicose veins may be associated with superficial phlebitis
Symptoms of Deep Venous Thrombophlebitis (DVT)
• May be similar in presentation to supericial phlebitis but some people have no symptoms
• Signs and symptoms of DVT include: redness, warmth, swelling and pain in the leg
When to Seek Medical Care
Call your doctor if you have signs and symptoms of swelling, pain and inflamed superficial veins on the arms or legs.
Seek immediate medical care for Deep Vein Thrombophlebitis.
Go to the emergency room or your doctor for evaluation if you have the following:
Fever with any symptoms in an arm or leg
Pain and swelling in an arm or leg
Chest pain and shortness of breath
Exams and Tests
Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about symptoms. Blood tests do not help diagnose phlebitis but may help with screening to prove that a blood clot is not present.
D-dimer is a chemical that is released by blood clots as they start to disintegrate. If the D-dimer test is normal, then a blood clot is not present. The test does not tell the doctor the location where the blood clot might be. For example, the test is positive in a person that has a bruise or those who have undergone recent surgery.
An ultrasound can detect blood clots or a blockage of blood flow, especially in larger, more proximal upper leg veins. A small hand-held probe is pressed against the patient’s skin to see if there are any blood clots and locate the obstruction. An ultrasound test is non-invasive and painless.