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- Prolonged bed rest following an operation
- Use of estrogen
- Lack of exercising your legs over an extended period of time (eg, long airplane trips)
- Prior episodes of phlebitis
- Trauma to the lower extremity
- Cancer malignancy—Certain cancers may put you at risk for a clotting condition. This condition can lead to venous thrombosis. Cancers such as pancreatic , stomach , prostate , and colon cancer, as well as acute leukemia are known to increase clots.
- Sitting for long periods of time, such as on an airplane or being confined to bed rest
Health conditions that increase the risk of blood clots
- These include cancers particularly of the pancreas which is associated with recurrent phlebitis
Blood disorders which increase the clotting potential of blood
- These include Protein C deficiency due to Factor V Leiden (hereditary blood coagulation disorder)
- Very visible, cord-like vein that is tender and sensitive to pressure. This cord may develop over several hours to days.
- Redness and warmth surrounding the vein.
- Swelling around the vein.
- A low-grade fever may be seen, however a high fever and drainage that is purulent (pus) indicate infection.
- Call your physician immediately should you develop a fever, shortness of breath (which may indicate that the clot may have traveled to the lung), and severe pain and swelling in the arm or leg.
- Physical exam
- X-ray or ultrasound to check for deeper blood clots
- Venogram in which dye or contrast is injected
- In case of recurrent episodes of phlebitis, screening for blood disorders is done.
- Anti-inflammatory medication—you may be advised to take over-the-counter pain relievers, like aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Exercise—walking is typically recommended.
- Compress—another option is applying a warm compress over the inflamed vein.
- Elevation—elevating the arm or leg with the inflamed vein to a level above the heart may be beneficial.
- If you fly for long periods of time, walk around the cabin and stretch your limbs every hour or so.
- If you drive for long periods of time, pull over and stretch your limbs ever hour or so.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing around your waist.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
The Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/
National Institutes of Health http://www.nih.gov/
University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/001108.htm
University of Michigan Health Systems http://www.med.umich.edu/
British Columbia Ministry of Health http://www.bchealthguide.org
Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca
McQuillan AD, Eikelboom JW, Baker RI. Venous thromboembolism in travelers: can we identify those at risk? Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis . 2003 Oct;14(7):671-5.
Ramzi DW, Leeper KV. DVT and pulmonary embolism: Part I. Diagnosis. Am Fam Physician . 2006;69(12). Available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040615/2829.html. Accessed February 27, 2007.
Sadovsky R. Superficial Thrombophlebitis: ligation vs. anticoagulation. Am Fam Physician . 2002;65(10). Available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020515/tips/6.html. Accessed February 27, 2007.
Vandenbroucke JP, Rosing J, Bloemenkamp KWM, Middeldorp S, Helmerhorst FM, Bouma BN. Oral contraceptives and the risk of venous thrombosis. N Engl J Med . 2001 May 17;344:1527-1535.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/92/2012 -