Definition of "thrombophlebitis."
It is an inflammation of the vein with a clot formation.
It occurs most often in the veins of the legs, but may occur in other areas of the body.
Factors that may increase the risk of thrombophlebitis.
Long periods of immobility or lack of position changes.
Varicose veins or other vascular problems.
Signs and symptoms of thrombophlebitis.
Increased firmness of the vein.
Redness and warmth along the vein.
Deep vein thrombosis (NOTE: may not have any symptoms).
Cramping leg pain aggravated by movement.
Increased warmth of the skin.
Positive Homan's sign (pain upon straightening or extending toes).
Measures to prevent or manage thrombophlebitis.
Promote good circulation:
Avoid constrictive clothing (garters, girdles, etc.).
Avoid smoking (constricts blood vessels).
Avoid crossing legs and sitting for long periods.
Wear support hose when standing for long periods.
Elevate legs periodically.
Avoid oral contraceptives.
Eat a well-balanced diet (calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin K all affect clotting mechanism). (Provide "Daily Food Guide" handout.)
Follow post-operative teaching:
Passive and active exercise.
Deep breathing exercise.
Treatments that may be ordered for thrombophlebitis.
Warm, moist heat to affected area as ordered.
Analgesics as ordered.
Anticoagulants as ordered. (Provide Coumadin handout as appropriate.)
Bed rest or activity as instructed.
Prevention of emboli:
Fluids increased to at least 6-8 glasses per day.
Massaging of affected part avoided.
Possible complications of thrombophlebitis.
Pulmonary embolism (blood clot to the lung).
Stroke (blood clot to the brain).