Phlebitis: 4 treatments, 7 causes and more

Phlebitis: 4 treatments, 7 causes and more

Phlebitis is inflammation of the veins. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood from your organs and extremities back to the heart.

When a blood clot causes inflammation, it is called thrombophlebitis. However, if a blood clot is in a deep vein, it is called deep vein thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Types of phlebitis

Phlebitis can be superficial or deep.

Superficial phlebitis refers to inflammation of the vein near the surface of the skin. This type of phlebitis requires treatment, but is not very dangerous. Superficial phlebitis can result from a blood clot or irritation (for example, from an intravenous catheter).

Deep phlebitis refers to the inflammation of a deep vein, such as that in your legs. Deep phlebitis is significantly more dangerous because it is most likely caused by a blood clot that can have very serious, life-threatening consequences. It is important to recognize the risk factors and symptoms of DVT so that you can contact the doctor immediately if you are suspected.

Symptoms of phlebitis

The symptoms of phlebitis affect the arm or leg of the inflamed vein. These symptoms are:

1. Blush

2. swelling

3. Warmth

4. Visible red stripes on the arm or leg

5. Sensitivity

6. A rope-like structure that can be felt under the skin.

You may also notice pain in your calves or hip if your phlebitis is caused by DVT. The pain may be more noticeable when you walk around or stretch.

Complications of phlebitis

Superficial thrombophlebitis does not usually lead to serious complications. But it can lead to infections of the surrounding skin, wounds on the skin and even infections of the bloodstream. If the clot in the superficial vein is large enough and affects the area where the superficial vein and a deep vein come together, DVT can develop.

Sometimes people are not aware that they have a DVT until they experience a life-threatening complication. The most common and most serious complication of DVT is pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism occurs when part of the blood clot breaks off and gets into the lungs, where it blocks blood flow.

The symptoms of pulmonary embolism are:

1. Unexplained shortness of breath

2. Chest pain

3. Cough up blood

4. Pain when breathing deeply

5. Fast breathing

6. Feeling light-headed or fainting

7. Fast heart rate

Call your local emergency services if you suspect you have PE. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

What causes phlebitis

Phlebitis is caused by injury or irritation of the lining of a blood vessel. In the case of superficial phlebitis, this can have the following causes:

1. Placement of an IV catheter

2. Administering irritating drugs into your veins

3. A small clot

4. An infection

In the case of a DVT, the causes are:

5. Irritation or injury to a deep vein due to trauma such as surgery, a broken bone, serious injury, or a previous DVT

6. Slowed blood flow due to lack of exercise, which can occur when you are in bed recovering from surgery or when you are traveling for a long time

7. Blood that clots more frequently than usual, which may be due to medication, cancer, connective tissue disorders, or congenital bleeding disorders

Who is most at risk of phlebitis?

Knowing if you have risk factors for developing a DVT is key to protecting yourself and proactively developing a plan with your doctor. Risk factors for DVT typically include:

1. Have ever had a DVT

2. Blood clotting disorders

3. Hormone therapy or birth control pills

4. Longer periods of inactivity due to recovery from surgery

5. Sitting for a long time, e.g. B. when travelling

6. Certain types of cancer and cancer treatments

7. Pregnancy
8. Being overweight or obese

9. Smoking

10. Alcohol Abuse

11. Being over 60 years old

Diagnosis of phlebitis

The diagnosis of phlebitis can be made based on your symptoms and an examination by your doctor. You may not need any special tests. If a blood clot is suspected to be the cause of your phlebitis, your doctor may do several tests in addition to the history and exam.

Your doctor may order an ultrasound scan of your affected limb. An ultrasound uses sound waves to show blood flow through your veins and arteries. Your doctor may also want to measure your D-dimer levels. This is a blood test that looks for a substance that is released in your body when a clot breaks up.

If the ultrasound doesn't provide a clear answer, your doctor may also do a venography, CT scan, or MRI scan to determine if a blood clot is present.

If a blood clot is discovered, your doctor may take blood samples to check for blood clot disorders that may have caused the DVT.

Treatment of the disease

Treatment for superficial phlebitis may include removal of an IV catheter, warm compresses, or antibiotics if infection is suspected.

To treat DVT, you may need to take anticoagulants, which make it harder for your blood to clot.

If the DVT is extensive and causing significant problems getting blood back to the limb, you may be a candidate for a procedure called a thrombectomy. In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a wire and catheter into the affected vein and either removes the clot, dissolves it with drugs that dissolve the clot, such as B. tissue plasminogen activators, or performs a combination of both.

Putting a filter in one of your main blood vessels, the vena cava, may be recommended if you have DVT and are at high risk of pulmonary embolism but cannot tolerate blood thinners. This filter does not prevent blood clots from forming, but it does prevent part of the clot from entering your lungs.

Many of these filters are removable, as permanent filters cause complications after a year or two. These complications include:

1. Infection

2. Life-threatening damage to the vena cava

3. Enlargement of the blood vessels around the filter, allowing blood clots to get past the filter and into the lungs, as clogs on and behind the filter in the vena cava can break off and get into the lungs

4. Minimizing your risk factors for developing future DVTs is also an important part of treatment.

Phlebitis Prevention

If you are at risk of developing a DVT, there are a number of things you can do to prevent a blood clot from forming. Some important prevention strategies include:

1. Discuss your risk factors with your doctor, especially before having surgery

2. Get up and walk as soon as possible after the operation

3. Wearing compression socks

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4. Stretch your legs and drink plenty of water when traveling

5. Taking any medications as directed by your doctor, including blood thinners

Compression socks against superficial thrombophlebitis

Wear compression stockings when taking a long-haul flight or traveling overland. Compression stockings have been proven to prevent the occurrence of thrombophlebitis. The pressure you put on your legs helps improve circulation by helping blood return to the heart and preventing blood pooling in the lower extremities. Compression stockings can help relieve leg swelling and pain. Many compression garments are now conveniently available online. Jobst Medical Leg Wear is a very popular and leading brand with different gradients, colors and lengths. With its light weight, comfort and high effectiveness in optimizing leg health, it is the most recommended brand by doctors. This brand helps prevent superficial thrombophlebitis, as well as deep vein thrombosis. Another recommended brand, Medical Compression Socks and Hosiery has long had a reputation for high medical efficacy and durability. This tag is constructed from a two-way stretch knit to increase patient comfort and compliance.

Avoid tight clothing, especially if you have to travel for hours. Tight clothing can impede blood flow through veins, usually in joints where you have to bend, like knees and hips.

Superficial thrombophlebitis per se may not indicate a serious problem, but it can mark the onset of serious and fatal conditions (DVT and pulmonary embolism). That is why preventing its occurrence is of paramount importance.

Compression socks against inflammation in the deep veins

Compression stockings are available in different degrees of compression. It is therefore important to find stockings with the right pressure. Choose between knee-high, high or long stockings. Your doctor may recommend knee-high stockings if you have swelling below the knee, or thigh-high or full length stockings if you have swelling above the knee.

Although your doctor can prescribe a prescription for compression stockings, you don't need a prescription for stockings up to 20mmHg. mmHg is a measure of pressure. Stockings with higher values have a higher degree of compression.

The recommended density to prevent phlebitis is between 30 and 40 mmHg. Compression options include mild (8 to 15 mmHg), medium (15 to 20 mmHg), firm (20 to 30 mmHg), and extra firm (30 to 40 mmHg).

The right level of tightness is also necessary for the prevention of phlebitis. Compression stocking sizes vary by brand. Therefore, you must first take body measurements and then refer to the brand's size chart to determine the correct size for you.

To find your knee high stocking size, measure the circumference of the narrowest part of your ankle, the widest part of your calf, and your calf length from the floor to the bend of the knee. For thigh-length or full-length stockings, you must also measure the widest part of your thighs and your leg length, starting from the floor to the bottom of your buttocks.

The superficial phlebitis often heals without any lasting effect.

DVT, on the other hand, can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. It's important to know if you have any risk factors for developing DVT and to get regular treatment from your doctor.

If you have experienced DVT before, you may be more susceptible to experiencing another DVT in the future. Taking proactive measures can help prevent DVT.