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HealthInfo Canterbury


Thrombophlebitis (throm-bo-fle-by-tis), or just phlebitis, is where a vein becomes inflamed due to a blood clot.

Thrombophlebitis usually happens in your legs, although it can affect other veins. Thrombophlebitis affects your shallow (superficial) veins and is different to a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The affected area may be warm, red, swollen and tender.

What causes thrombophlebitis?

Thrombophlebitis is caused by a blood clot in your vein. Having varicose veins or venous insufficiency is by far the most common cause of thrombophlebitis.

Other things that can increase the chances of you getting thrombophlebitis include:

How is thrombophlebitis diagnosed?

If you haven't had thrombophlebitis before, you should go to your GP and they'll examine you. The appearance of the affected area and your symptoms are usually enough to diagnose thrombophlebitis. If they suspect that you might have a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) as well as thrombophlebitis, they may refer you for an ultrasound test.

How is thrombophlebitis treated?

Treatment options for thrombophlebitis include:

With this treatment, most people with thrombophlebitis find it's much better within a week.

A small number of people with thrombophlebitis need blood-thinning medicines.

Occasionally, the leg gets infected and you'll need to take antibiotics.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2018.


See also:

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) of the lower limbs

Page reference: 403795

Review key: HIBLV-403653