Phlebitis & DVT: What Patients Need to Know

A graphic of a blood clot in the legs.

At The Vein Clinic of Greater Kansas City, our goal is to help our patients better understand the various conditions that are associated with veins. One of the areas that our patients often have confusion in is the difference between superficial phlebitis and deep vein thrombosis. We break down the difference between the two, as well as the signs and symptoms below.

What Is the Difference between Superficial Thrombophlebitis and Deep Vein Thrombosis?

blood-clot-graphicThere are two types blood clots, superficial phlebitis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When phlebitis is superficial, a blood clot arises in the superficial veins, which are the veins that are just under the surface of the skin. This type of disorder is common and is usually a benign and self-limiting disease.

DVT, on the other hand, is a blood clot that develops in a vein deep in the body. Most DVTs occur in the lower extremity and can partially or completely block the blood flow through the vein. It is important to note that a DVT blood clot has the potential to break off and travel through the bloodstream. When this occurs it could potentially become lodged in the blood vessels of the lung. This, also known as a pulmonary embolism, can be a life-threatening condition. Because of this risk, we recommend seeking treatment promptly.   

Related read: Do Varicose Veins Indicate Heart Problems?

What Symptoms Should I Look for with Each Disorder?

Superficial thrombophlebitis has symptoms that are easily visible because it is near the surface of the skin. DVT’s symptoms are similar to those of varicose veins.

Superficial Thrombophlebitis

  • Red veins
  • Hardened veins
  • Veins are sensitive to touch

Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • Pain in legs
  • Swelling in legs
  • Tightness of skin
  • Cramping

When it comes to your health, it is always important to be screening for any changes and to call a doctor if you notice anything suspicious. The Vein Clinic of Greater Kansas City is always happy to help you with any vein disorder that you may experience. Give us a call at 913-541-3377 for assistance today!