To diagnose thrombophlebitis, your doctor will ask you about your discomfort and look for affected veins near your skin's surface. To determine whether you have superficial thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis, your doctor might choose one of these tests:
Ultrasound. A wandlike 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.
This test can confirm the diagnosis and distinguish between superficial and deep vein thrombosis.
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. So a test for D dimer isn't conclusive, but can indicate the need for further testing.
It's also useful for ruling out DVT and for identifying people at risk of developing thrombophlebitis repeatedly.
Nov. 30, 2016
- Nasr H, et al. Superficial thrombophlebitis (superficial venous thrombosis). British Medical Journal. 2015;350:u2039.
- Scovell S, et al. Phlebitis and thrombosis of the superficial lower extremity veins. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2016.
- Bauer KA. Approach to the diagnosis and therapy of a lower extremity deep vein thrombosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2016.
- Di Nisio M, et al. Treatment for superficial thrombophlebitis of the leg (review). Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004982.pub5/abstract. Accessed July 11, 2016.
- Deep vein thrombosis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt#. Accessed July 11, 2016.
- Alguire PC, et al. Post-thrombotic (postphlebitic) syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2016.