Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose thrombophlebitis, your doctor will ask you about the discomfort you've had and then look for any affected veins near the surface of your skin. To determine whether you have superficial thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis, your doctor may choose one of these tests:

  • Blood test. Almost everyone with a blood clot has an elevated blood level of a naturally occurring, clot-dissolving substance called D dimer. But D dimer levels can be elevated in other conditions, too. So a test for D dimer isn't conclusive, but may indicate the need for further testing. It's also useful for ruling out deep vein thrombosis and for identifying people at risk of developing thrombophlebitis repeatedly.
  • Ultrasound. A wand-like device (transducer) moved over the affected area of your leg sends sound waves into your leg. As the sound waves travel through your leg tissue and reflect back, a computer transforms the waves into a moving image on a video screen. A clot may be visible in the image.
  • CT scan. Computerized tomography (CT) scan can provide visual images of your lungs and may show if a clot is present.
Feb. 22, 2014