Phlebitis

PHLEBITIS knees

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Phlebitis, also known as venitis, is a condition of vein inflammation. If a person shows these signs and symptoms, it could be indicative of phlebitis - swelling and redness along a superficial vein, hard lumps under the skin, itching/soreness/pain in the affected area, and a low-grade fever. Some people also experience difficulty in breathing.
The onset of phlebitis is a gradual process. As the inflammation grows unchecked, the surrounding area swells up and becomes red. This may also begin to burn or throb. It has been observed that the pain increases when the leg is lowered. The extent of swelling can range from one vein to the entire limb.
What really works in the case of phlebitis depends on the region affected. If it is a superficial phlebitis, NSAID drugs can help in relieving pain and inflammation. Compression-stockings can help restore normal circulation in phlebitis-affected legs. It advised NOT to restore to excessive bed rest as it can worsen the condition. In case of bacterial infection, antibiotic treatment is a mandate.

Introduction

Sometimes, blood vessels can become inflamed. This condition is known as vasculitis. It causes the walls of the affected blood vessels to become thickened, making it difficult for blood to flow through normally. This condition can affect major and minor vessels in any part of the body. It can affect both arteries and veins.

What Is Phlebitis?

Phlebitis is the medical term for a condition in which a vein or a set of veins suffers from inflammation. It is also known as venitis. Veins can develop inflammation due to infection, injury or the formation of blood clots (thrombi). When blood clots are involved, this condition is referred to by the name thrombophlebitis. It can arise in any vein located in any part of the body although it tends more often to affect superficially located veins than deeper ones. The lower legs are commonly affected. Potential risks associated with thrombophlebitis in deeper veins are generally more severe as compared to more superficial cases of phlebitis. In fact, deep venous thrombophlebitis can give rise to a life-threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism.

What Causes It?

PHLEBITIS kneesAny condition that irritates or injures veins can give rise to inflammation in the affected veins. Causes may be intrinsic or extrinsic to the body. To give an example, an external cause could be anything that inflicts localized injury, such as the insertion of an intravenous tube. Causes intrinsic to the body itself can range from blood clots (as we have already seen) to infections or even cancer in nearby organs or tissues. Further, any condition that increases the likelihood of clot formation can also indirectly lead to phlebitis.

The list below lays out some potential risk factors with regard to phlebitis:

  • Smoking tobacco.
  • Being obese.
  • Taking birth control pills.
  • Being pregnant.
  • Prolonged periods of time spent in inactivity or leading a sedentary lifestyle can give rise to phlebitis.
  • Prolonged immobility as in the case of patients who are paralyzed, hospitalized or bedridden.
  • Localised injury to the vein or veins. This can occur in the form of a complication of surgery or prolonged intravenous drug use.
  • Undergoing hormone therapy.
  • Certain forms of cancer.
  • Surgical removal of lymph nodes.
  • Varicose veins.
  • Bleeding disorders.
  • Having a history of blood clots.

What Are The Different Types Of Phlebitis?

There are two main types of phlebitis, namely, superficial and deep phlebitis.

Superficial phlebitis: Inflammation could develop in superficial veins. In other words, it occurs in veins close to the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are distended, twisting veins that are externally visible and these, too, could develop phlebitis. Usually, there are no serious consequences associated with phlebitis in superficially located veins. The following signs could indicate a probable case of superficial phlebitis or thrombophlebitis:

  • Redness along a superficial vein.
  • The area may feel warm and tender to the touch.
  • The vein might be swollen.
  • Itching around the affected area.
  • Soreness or pain.
  • Hard lumps beneath the skin.
  • Breakdown of skin at the affected site.

PHLEBITIS varicose veinsDeep phlebitis: Sometimes a blood clot or a thrombus can form in a deeper seated vein. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis. Such a clot can trigger inflammation in the vein. Sometimes, the problem can become compounded by infection, giving rise to a low-grade infection. Alternatively, the clot could detach and end up obstructing an artery in a lung, giving rise to a condition called pulmonary embolism.

What Are Some Complications To Watch Out For?

A possible complication is an infection at the site of thrombophlebitis. This is known as septic thrombophlebitis and can potentially develop in instances of both superficial or deep venous thrombophlebitis. Infection could also take the form of an abscess.

Alternatively, a clot or a piece of the clot may break away and be carried along with the blood until it becomes lodged in another blood vessel elsewhere. The risk of such an outcome is greater in instances of deeper-seated thrombophlebitis. One of the more severe outcomes is a condition known as pulmonary embolism. It occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in an artery in the lungs. When deep vein thrombophlebitis permanently damages the veins, it can give rise to a condition known as a post-phlebitic syndrome. This is characterized by chronic swelling and pain in the affected location.

What Tests Are Needed To Diagnose It?

Phlebitis in a superficial vein is easy to recognize by means of physical examination. However, in order to make sure, the doctor must rule out other possibilities such as cellulitis (a kind of skin infection) or even insect bites that could produce similar symptoms.

  • Physical examination.
  • Medical history.
  • Blood tests.
  • Ultrasound imaging.
  • Venography.
  • Computerised tomography (CT) tests.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.
  • Skin biopsy.
  • Angiography 

Treatment and Prevention

PHLEBITIS treatmentSuperficial phlebitis can be treated with the help of antibiotic medications (if it is caused by a bacterial infection) and warm compresses. In case of phlebitis has resulted in DVT (deep vein thrombosis) anti-coagulants can help in preventing the formation of internal clots. For treating extensive DVT, surgery (thrombectomy)  might be used.  In many patients, a filter is inserted into the vena cava (major blood vessels) which will obstruct the path of any clot reaching the lungs.

If one is highly likely to develop phlebitis or DVT, one should follow these precautionary measures:

  • Wear compression stockings.
  • Avoid long sitting and taking long flights.
  • Drink adequate amount of water.
  • Don’t miss out blood thinner medications.
  • Don’t remain sedentary for longer durations after surgery. Start walking and moving around as soon as your doctor approves.

Facts

  • Phlebitis is NOT caused by a bacterial infection in every case and thus may not require antibiotics prescribed for every patient.
  • The correct diagnosis of phlebitis requires duplex ultrasound scan as other infections such as cellulitis and lymphangitis also produce similar symptoms.

Facts

  • Since it directly results in DVT/PE ( deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism), many experts opine it to be renamed to superficial venous thrombosis.
  • In patients diagnosed with phlebitis the absence of varicose veins indicates blood clotting disorder or even cancer.

Facts

  • Post menopausal women undergoing hormonal therapy have much greater risk of acquiring this condition.

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Phlebitis, also known as venitis, is a condition of vein inflammation. If a person shows these signs and symptoms, it could be indicative of phlebitis - swelling and redness along a superficial vein, hard lumps under the skin, itching/soreness/pain in the affected area, and a low-grade fever. Some people also experience difficulty in breathing.
The onset of phlebitis is a gradual process. As the inflammation grows unchecked, the surrounding area swells up and becomes red. This may also begin to burn or throb. It has been observed that the pain increases when the leg is lowered. The extent of swelling can range from one vein to the entire limb.
What really works in the case of phlebitis depends on the region affected. If it is a superficial phlebitis, NSAID drugs can help in relieving pain and inflammation. Compression-stockings can help restore normal circulation in phlebitis-affected legs. It advised NOT to restore to excessive bed rest as it can worsen the condition. In case of bacterial infection, antibiotic treatment is a mandate.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • If exercising is advised by the doctor, then the patient can engage in walking since it improves blood circulation in the lower extremities of the body.
  • In case the person can’t exercise, he/she can wear compression stockings during periods of elongated sitting.

 

Don'ts
  • Perform high impact exercises such as running, weight-training, squats, and lunges as it puts a strain on the calves.
  • Wear uncomfortable or high-heeled shoes since these could hinder blood circulation in the legs.

 

 

 

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carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Gatorade: Top things you need to know about this staple energy drink Gatorade is a popular (in fact the most popular) energy drink worldwide. But this power-packed drinks comes with…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
Valerian Root: The best way to achieve tranquil sleep every night Valerian root is probably one of the oldest and safest way to cure your insomnia. Find out how…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Tight phimosis ring
Phimosis Read to know everything about phimosis, types, symptoms, treatment, risks and prognosis for patients with this condition.
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
glutamine workout
Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement? Glutamine can help you gain muscles and build higher immunity. Read more to find out how you can…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
Sciatica pain relief: Get rid of the pain with these easy daily tips Researchers have claimed that not only heat but icing the area too helps relieve sciatica pain. Find out…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
asab antisperm antibody test
Antisperm Antibody Test The ASAB or anti-sperm antibody test is a blood/semen test that analyzes the level of sperm-killing antibody protein…