[Superficial venous thrombosis. A state of art].

Research paper by Tamás T Sándor

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Orvosi hetilap


For a long time superficial thrombophlebitis has been thought to be a rather benign condition. Recently, when duplex ultrasound technique is used for the diagnosis more and more often, the disease is proved to be more dangerous than anticipated. Thrombosis propagates to the deep veins in 6-44% and pulmonary embolism was observed on the patients in 1,5-33%. We can calculate venous thromboembolic complications on every fourth patient. Diagnosis is clinical, but duplex ultrasound examination is mandatory, for estimation of the thrombus extent, for exclusion of the deep venous thrombosis and for follow up. Both legs should be checked with ultrasound, because simultaneous deep venous thrombosis can develop on the contralateral limb. Two different forms can be distinguished: superficial venous thrombosis with, or without varicose veins. In cases of spontaneous, non varicous form, especially when the process is migrating or recurrent, a careful clinical examination is necessery for exclusion of malignant diseases and thrombophilia. The treatment options are summarised on the basis of recent international consensus statements. The American and German guidelines are similar. Compression and mobilisation are cornerstones of the therapy. For a short segment thrombosis non steroidal antiinflammatory drugs are effective. For longer segments low molecular-weight heparins are preferred. Information on the effect of the novel oral anticoagulants for the therapy is lacking but they may appear to be effective in the future for this indication. When thrombus is close to the sapheno-femoral or sapheno-popliteal junction crossectomy (high ligation), or low molecular-weight heparin in therapeutic doses are indicated. The term superficial thrombophlebitis should be discouraged, because inflammation and infection is not the primary pathology. It should be called correctly superficial venous thrombosis in order to avoid the unnecessary administration of antibiotics and the misconception, that superficial venous thrombosis is benign disease. Orv. Hetil., 2017, 158(4), 129-138.