Tests and diagnosisBy 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:
- 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 or MRI scans. Both computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide visual images of your veins and may show if a clot is present.
- Blood test. Almost all people who develop acute thrombosis have an elevated blood level of a clot-dissolving substance called D dimer. However, D dimer is elevated in other conditions, too. So, although a test for D dimer is very sensitive, it's not very conclusive. Currently, it's most useful for ruling out deep vein thrombosis or for identifying people at risk of developing thrombophlebitis repeatedly.
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