Treating Superficial Venous Thrombophlebitis

Superficial venous thrombophlebitis (SVT) is characterized as a localized inflammatory condition of the venous vessels underlying the skin. It arises from thrombosis of a superficial vein, and clinical presentation usually involves pain, erythema, and tenderness at the sites of inflammation. Although the condition is usually self-limited and not serious or fatal, symptomatic superficial thrombophlebitis can be debilitating, limit movement and certain capabilities, or progress to involve the deep venous system and cause pulmonary embolism. SVT is typically associated with venous valvular insufficiency, pregnancy, infection, and prothrombotic conditions, including malignancy. Currently, medical therapies comprising bedrest, elastic stockings, compression bandages, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and low molecular weight heparins are used to reduce the extension of inflammation and recurrence of thrombotic events in patients experiencing SVT. In patients refractory to conservative measures, surgical interventions such as phlebectomy, sclerotherapy, saphenous junction ligation, or saphenous vein stripping are potential treatments.

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Correspondence: Jason T. Lee, MD, Division of Vascular Surgery, 300 Pasteur Drive, Suite H3600, Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail: jtlee@stanford.edu
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