Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Septic Thrombophlebitis Overview

What is septic thrombophlebitis?
A person with septic thrombophlebitis has inflammation of a vein, caused by a bacterial infection. The most common cause of septic thrombophlebitis is an intravenous (IV) catheter, which mistakenly introduces bacteria into the vein. Septic thrombophlebitis occurs most commonly in an arm or leg. Septic thrombophlebitis occurs in about 10 percent of those who undergo surgery.

What are the symptoms of septic thrombophlebitis?
Symptoms of septic thrombophlebitis include fever, and pain or tenderness over the vein. The vein may become firm. Additional symptoms of septic thrombophlebitis may include redness, tenderness, warmth, or swelling of the skin over the vein.

How does the doctor treat septic thrombophlebitis?
Treatment for septic thrombophlebitis may include rest, elevation of the arm or leg, warm compresses, antibiotics, and blood thinners. Treatment for severe septic thrombophlebitis may require surgery.

Continue to Septic Thrombophlebitis Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Septic Thrombophlebitis References
  1. Baker CC, Petersen SR, Sheldon GF. Septic phlebitis: a neglected disease. Am J Surg. 1979 Jul;138(1):97-103. [464215]
  2. Cohen MB, Pernoll ML, Gevirtz CM, Kerstein MD. Septic pelvic thrombophlebitis: an update. Obstet Gynecol. 1983 Jul;62(1):83-9. [6682948]
  3. Cook RJ, Ashton RW, Aughenbaugh GL, Ryu JH. Septic pulmonary embolism: presenting features and clinical course of 14 patients. Chest. 2005 Jul;128(1):162-6. [16002930]
  4. DiNubile MJ, Boom WH, Southwick FS. Septic cortical thrombophlebitis. J Infect Dis. 1990 Jun;161(6):1216-20. [2189005]
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