Which physical findings are characteristic of thrombophlebitis?

Updated: Aug 31, 2020
  • Author: Padma Chitnavis, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

The classic findings of SVT are a firm, tender, erythematous fibrous cord, usually in the area of a previous varicose or normal-appearing vein.

In cases of DVT, mild-to-moderate edema, erythema, and tenderness prevail. [90] A discrete cord rarely is palpable in persons with DVT, especially DVT in a lower extremity.

Patients with venous thrombosis (or cellulitis) may present with a hot, swollen leg.

See the images below.

Superficial thrombophlebitis. Courtesy of DermNet Superficial thrombophlebitis. Courtesy of DermNet New Zealand (http://www.dermnetnz.org/assets/Uploads/vascular/thrombophlebitis.jpg).
Deep venous thrombosis. Deep venous thrombosis.

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