If you have symptoms of thrombophlebitis, such as a red, swollen or tender vein, see your doctor right away. If the vein swelling and pain are severe or you have other symptoms that might indicate a blood clot traveling to your lungs, such as shortness of breath or coughing up blood, call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you have time before your appointment, here's some information that may help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to thrombophlebitis.
- Write down key personal information, especially if you have a family history of blood-clotting disorders, or if you've been inactive for long periods of time recently, such as traveling by car or plane. Also, if you're planning to travel and are concerned about your thrombophlebitis risk, tell your doctor about your travel plans.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Have someone take you to the doctor or emergency room, if possible. It may be difficult for you to drive, and it's helpful to have someone with you at your appointment to help you remember everything your doctor tells you. If you have symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 or your local emergency number for immediate assistance.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For thrombophlebitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- What's an appropriate level of physical activity for me now that I've been diagnosed with thrombophlebitis? What about once my clot is gone?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- What side effects can I expect with this medication?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Do you have symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What other medical conditions do you have?
- Have you had any major injury or surgery within the past three months?
- Have you ever had a pregnancy miscarriage?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Do you have a family history of health problems related to blood clots?
What you can do in the meantime
Before your doctor appointment, you can begin some self-care measures. You can use a warm washcloth as a compress on the affected area, and elevate the affected leg to help with any discomfort. If you decide to take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), be sure to tell your doctor. Medications can interact with other blood clot-dissolving medications your doctor prescribes.
Feb. 22, 2014
- Torpy JM, et al. Thrombophlebitis. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;305:1372.
- Deep vein thrombosis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt/printall-index.html. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Venous thromboembolism diagnosis and treatment. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. https://www.icsi.org/guidelines__more/catalog_guidelines_and_more/catalog_guidelines/catalog_cardiovascular_guidelines/vte_treatment/. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Fernandez L, et al. Superficial thrombophlebitis of the lower extremity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_venous_disorders/deep_venous_thrombosis_dvt.html. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Antithrombotic therapy and prevention of thrombosis, 9th ed. Northbrook, Ill.: American College of Chest Physicians. http://journal.publications.chestnet.org/article.aspx?articleid=1159399. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Di Nisio M, et al. Treatment for superficial thrombophlebitis of the leg. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004982.pub5/abstract. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- McBane RD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 11, 2013.
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