Superficial vein thrombophlebitis (SVT) of the lower limb is most often a complication of varicose veins.
Duplex ultrasonography should be performed on all patients with suspected SVT of the lower limb, as concomitant deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may be present.
Underlying prothrombotic conditions should be sought in cases of recurrent SVT and migratory SVT, especially in the absence of varicose veins.
Anticoagulation to prevent venous thromboembolic complications (DVT or pulmonary embolism) is warranted, especially in patients with SVT near the saphenofemoral junction, or when the superficial thrombus is 5 cm or greater in length.
Superficial vein thrombophlebitis (SVT) refers to thrombus formation in a superficial vein, and inflammation in the tissue surrounding the vein. It is generally characterised by pain, tenderness, induration, and/or erythema in a superficial vein. There is often a palpable, sometimes nodular, cord with warmth and erythema, which suggests the presence of thrombus. It most often occurs in the saphenous vein and its tributaries of the lower limbs. It can also occur in the veins of the upper limbs or neck, usually due to intravenous cannulation and drug administration. The term SVT is generally reserved for the specific problem of SVT in the lower limbs. This monograph will concentrate on lower-limb SVT.
Department of Medicine
VT has received reimbursement for consultancy work for Pzifer Canada, Sanofi Canada, Bayer, Bristol Myer Squib, and Leo Pharma. She has received an investigator-initiated grant from Sanofi Canada.
Professor Vicky Tagalakis would like to gratefully acknowledge Frédérique St-Pierre, a medical student who worked with her to update this topic.
FSP declares that he has no competing interests.
Division of Angiology and Hemostasis
University Hospital of Geneva
FB declares that he has no competing interests.
Professor of Medicine
Section of Hematology
Director of Hematologic Malignancies
Temple University School of Medicine
MB declares that he has no competing interests.
The Mary Weinfeld Professor of Clinical Research in Hemophilia
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
LA declares that he has no competing interests.
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