Our vascular system contains several arteries and veins that plays vital role in transporting blood from the heart to other parts and vice versa. Thrombosis is the term given for blood clot in the blood vessel and thrombophlebitis is the term given for swelling of veins caused by the blood clot. This occurs only superficially unlike DVT which affects the deep veins.
Difference between thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) :
DVT is a condition in which deep veins of the blood vessels gets inflamed. There will be blood clots on the deep veins and are caused by long-term bedridden condition and inactivity of the veins. Certain types of infections and cancer and surgery can restrict your movement in the long run. DVT affecting the deep veins form blood clots and sometimes the clot travels into the bloodstream risking your life. This process is called embolism and it can affect any organ causing serious consequences.
On the other hand, thrombophlebitis affects only superficial veins causing inflammation and blood clots. It can be commonly caused when a patient is put on IV drips which inflame the superficial skin. It would cause moderate pain and redness.
Thrombophlebitis often affects the veins in arms and legs causing inflammation and pain. It is less harmful and can be cured with simple medications.
There will be warmth and tenderness in the affected area of arms or legs. Mild to moderate pain is experienced on the legs. Other signs of this disease include swelling and redness. You can observe the superficial skin turning red and looking swelling. The pain becomes more intense when you walk or move your legs. Some people may have a low grade fever.
Many people will not have any symptoms at all except swelling of the affected area.
Thrombophlebitis is caused by blood clot. Clotting of blood on the veins can occur due to an injury or inherited blood related disorders.
For some people sitting in the same position for prolonged hours can cause blood clots. There should be little movement of the legs and arms when you travel for extended hours by air or car. You can reduce the risk of getting thrombophlebitis by stretching your legs and arms for a while when traveling.
Who are at risk?
People who are bedridden for long-term, who are inactive for weeks together, with cancer or other serious infectious diseases or those with partial paralysis of arms or legs are under the risk of getting thrombophlebitis.
Pregnant women may have high rate of pressure on the pelvic region and on the veins of legs due to weight. Obese people and old-age men and women have also chance for getting this problem.
Complications can occur only when the blood clot is on the deep vein in which case there is chance for the clot to break off from the blood vessel to travel to the lungs causing pulmonary embolism and even heart attack.
For some people it may affect the veins of the heart causing swelling and skin discoloration of legs.
Your doctor will look for the symptoms and physically examine the veins of the legs. He may perform ultrasound scan or CT/MRI scan for detecting the position of blood clot.
For minor form of thrombophlebitis you can take self remedies like keeping the legs in elevated position and applying topical creams for reducing inflammation. For moderate pain non-steroidal medications NSAID are given. You can wear support stockings for reducing pain and swelling on the legs.
In case of deep vein thrombosis DVT your doctor may give you blood thinning injections like heparin for preventing blood clots from enlarging. You need to follow the instructions of your doctor in case you have repeated thrombosis.
Medication like alteplase is given for dissolving the blood clots inside and this process is known as thrombolysis. This is given only for deep vein thrombosis that affects the lungs causing embolism.
Filter is inserted into the veins of your abdomen that would prevent blood clots to break loose. Here the filter remains permanently on the abdomen for monitoring blood clots and preventing it.
Surgery is done for removing varicose veins. The surgeon would make small incision on the affected leg and removes the vein affected with blood clot. This procedure is called varicose vein stripping.
Angioplasty is done for removing blood clot for bypassing the vein that contains blood clot.
Pictures of Thrombophlebitis :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Thrombophlebitis
Keep your legs above the pillows or in elevated position to facilitate easy blood flow. Apply warm clothing on the area to reduce inflammation. Take medicines like ibuprofen or motrin for pain and controlling swelling of legs.
Keep the legs and arms active by doing stretching exercises. You can take a walk when you are confined to sit for hours together in a car. Wear compression stockings to regularize blood flow.