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Phlebitis (cont.)

Phlebitis Causes

Superficial phlebitis is usually caused by local trauma to a vein. Superficial phlebitis is most often caused by an intravenous catheter (IV) placed in a vein, and the vein becomes irritated. Superficial phlebitis may or not have a blood clot form to cause the pain and inflammation. In the legs, superficial phlebitis can be associated with varicose veins.

Causes of deep vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis include:

  • inactivity (blood pools in the veins and tends to clot if a person is inactive for a prolonged period of time);
  • trauma, and
  • blood clotting abnormalities (may be inherited).

Risk factors for DVT include:

  • Prolonged inactivity (for example, a long airplane or car ride, an extremity immobilized in a cast or splint, being bedridden for an illness or after surgery, a sedentary lifestyle, inactivity with little or no exercise)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking cigarettes, especially when combined with hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills
  • During pregnancy, the enlarged uterus can also compress the large veins in the pelvis increasing the risk of blood clotting.
  • Certain medical conditions such as cancer or blood disorders that increase the potential of blood clotting
  • Injury to the arms or legs
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/9/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Thrombophelbitis, Septic »

The clinical course and severity of septic thrombophlebitis are quite variable.

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