Phlebitis is a medical term referring to inflammation of a vein. Our veins consist of blood vessels that carry blood to limbs and organs before returning it to the heart. Thrombophlebitis describes the condition when a blood clot starts to form in the vein. When the clot is deep inside the vein, medical science refers to it as deep vein thrombophlebitis, otherwise known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The types of phlebitis are either deep or superficial. Superficial phlebitis describes the inflammation of veins near the skin’s surface. This type of phlebitis occurs due to the irritation of the vein from an instrument such as an intravenous catheter.
Deep phlebitis Is a far more severe medical condition referring to the inflammation of larger or deeper veins in the legs. This condition is more likely to appear due to a blood clot, and it can have severe, life-threatening consequences.
Here are 14 common causes of phlebitis.
1. IV Placement
Persons admitted to the hospital, or emergency room may need to undergo treatment with intravenous fluids or medications. Medical staff will often place a catheter into a patient’s vein and secure it for long term use throughout the patients stay at the ward.
However, the placement of the needle and its prolonged stay in the vein, create significant amounts of irritation in the surrounding blood vessels. Irritation of the veins due to IV placement is one of the leading causes of superficial phlebitis.
If the patient notices that they start to experience inflammation around the catheter placement site, the skin will begin to swell and turn red. At this stage, the patient may experience an infection in the catheter placement site, requiring immediate removal of the IV, and treatment for infection in the localized area.
This type of superficial phlebitis does not cause a life-threatening injury unless left untreated and managed by the medical staff.