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Phlebitis

Medical Treatment

If your evaluation shows superficial phlebitis and you are otherwise healthy, you can likely go home. You will need to use compression stockings and probably anti-inflammatory medications to control your symptoms. Additional management involves elevation of the arm/leg and application of warm compresses. Only a few cases require antibiotics.

If you have a history of deep vein thrombophlebitis, or if the phlebitis might possibly spread to the deep veins, you will need to take a blood thinner (anticoagulant). The duration of anticoagulant treatment is usually between 3-6 months.

If you have signs of infection, you will need to take an antibiotic.

If the phlebitis has progressed to involve the deep veins, then it is a serious condition that may even require hospital admission for treatment and further evaluation.

Next Steps Outlook

Phlebitis in the superficial veins is rarely serious and usually responds to pain control, elevation, and warm compresses for 1-2 weeks. 

Multimedia

Media file 1: Superficial and deep vein systems in the leg.

Synonyms and Keywords

phlebitis, blood clot in the arm, blood clot in the leg, deep venous thrombophlebitis, thrombophlebitis, superficial vein thrombophlebitis, superficial phlebitis, thrombus, inflammation of a vein, deep vein thrombophlebitis

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WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 06, 2014

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