Your risk of thrombophlebitis increases if you:

  • Are confined to bed for a prolonged time, such as after surgery, after a heart attack or after an injury, such as breaking your leg
  • Have had a stroke that caused your arms or legs to be paralyzed
  • Have a pacemaker or have a thin, flexible tube (catheter) in a central vein, for treatment of a medical condition, which may irritate the blood vessel wall and decrease blood flow
  • Are pregnant or have just given birth, which may mean you have increased pressure in the veins of your pelvis and legs
  • Use birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, which may make your blood more likely to clot
  • Have a family history of a blood-clotting disorder or a tendency to form blood clots easily
  • Are inactive for a long period of time, such as from sitting in a car or an airplane
  • Are older than 60
  • Have varicose veins, which are a common cause of superficial thrombophlebitis

The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk of thrombophlebitis. If you have one or more risk factors, be sure to discuss prevention strategies with your doctor before long periods of inactivity, such as after an elective surgery or during a long flight or car ride.

Feb. 22, 2014