Thrombophlebitis: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Classification and external resources
ICD-10 I80., I82.1
ICD-9 451
MedlinePlus 001108
MeSH D013924

Thrombophlebitis is phlebitis (vein inflammation) related to a thrombus.[1] When it occurs repeatedly in different locations, it is known as "Thrombophlebitis migrans" or "migrating thrombophlebitis".


Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Thrombophlebitis (another medical term is "White Leg") is related to a thrombus in the vein. Risk factors include prolonged sitting and disorders related to blood clotting. Specific disorders associated with thrombophlebitis include superficial thrombophlebitis (affects veins near the skin surface) and deep venous thrombosis (affects deeper, larger veins). Thrombophlebitis migrans can be a non-metastatic manifestation of pancreatic carcinoma (Trousseau sign of malignancy).


The following symptoms are often (but not always) associated with thrombophlebitis:

  • pain in the part of the body affected
  • skin redness or inflammation (not always present)
  • swelling (edema) of the extremities (ankle and foot)

Signs and tests

The health care provider makes the diagnosis primarily based on the appearance of the affected area. Frequent checks of the pulse, blood pressure, temperature, skin condition, and circulation may be required.

If the cause is not readily identifiable, tests may be performed to determine the cause, including the following:


For more specific recommendations, see the particular condition. In general, treatment may include the following:

The patient may be advised to do the following:

  • Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling.
  • Keep pressure off of the area to reduce pain and decrease the risk of further damage.
  • Apply moist heat to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Surgical removal, stripping, or bypass of the vein is rarely needed but may be recommended in some situations.


Thrombophlebitis and other forms of phlebitis usually respond to prompt medical treatment.


Complications are rare, but when they occur they can be serious. The most serious complication occurs when the blood clot dislodges, traveling through the heart and occluding the dense capillary network of the lungs; this is a pulmonary embolism and is extremely life threatening.


Routine changing of intravenous (IV) lines helps to prevent phlebitis related to IV lines. See the specific disorders associated with thrombophlebitis for other preventive measures.



  • Thrombophlebitis. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Public domain text. Update Date: 4/19/2004. Updated by: Brian F. Burke M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Munson Medical Center, Traverse City, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address