Superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) or superficial thrombophlebitis, is a frequently observed condition due to a blood clots formation and inflammatory reaction in a superficial veins near the surface of the body. Most often it involves superficial venous system of the leg or arm, and occurs after placement of an intravenous line or superficial trauma, less commonly due to infection. It is generally a benign, self-limited disorder, however, it can be complicated by deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and even pulmonary embolism (PE).
Symptoms usually include pain, swelling, skin redness and tenderness and palpable cord due to presence of thrombus within the vein of the affected limb.
Phlebitis may occur in varicose veins, as well as after stripping or endovenous ablation procedure. A special case of phlebitis is migratory thrombophlebitis which can be specifically linked to the patients with pancreatic cancer while presence of blood clots in superficial veins of the breast and chest wall indicates self-limiting and generally benign rare condition known as Mondor’s disease.
Factors associated with a predisposition to development of SVT include:
- use of oral contraceptives or hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)
- previous surgery or prolonged immobilization
- previous history of DVT or PE
- indwelling intravenous catheters
- abnormality of blood coagulation (acquired and inherited thrombophilia disorders)
Treatment depends on the cause and location of the SVT. Traditional therapy is aimed at decreasing pain and inflammation plus preventing serious complications.
Early clinical evaluation and diagnosis by a qualified medical professional such as Dr. Marek Sepiolo are of the utmost importance to the successful treatment of SVT and can help identified other pathology that may be a source of patient’s complaints.