Phlebitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Phlebitis (inflammation of a vein) often occurs together with blood clot formation in the vein, known as thrombophlebitis. If phlebitis is mild, it may not produce any symptoms. When symptoms are present,

  • pain,
  • tenderness,
  • bulging of the vein,
  • warmth, and
  • redness of the skin are the common symptoms.

In some cases, fever may be present. Infections that cause phlebitis may lead to the drainage of pus from the involved site. Thrombi (clots) in thrombophlebitis can sometimes be felt in the form of hardened cords along the course of a vein. When thrombophlebitis occurs in the deep veins of the lower extremity, swelling of the leg as well as pain and tenderness can occur.

Causes of phlebitis

There are many causes of phlebitis. These include local trauma to a vein, long periods of inactivity or immobility, insertion of intravenous catheters (IV), varicose veins, underlying cancers or clotting disorders, burns, disruption of normal venous system drainage because of removal of lymph nodes, or intravenous drug use.

Other phlebitis symptoms and signs


Spider & Varicose Veins: Causes, Before and After Treatment Images See Slideshow

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.