Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Thrombophlebitis Patient Information Fact Sheet

Are there tests to diagnose thrombophlebitis and DVT?
A blood test can confirm if a person has inherited a familial clotting disorder. If DVT is suspected, a venous ultrasound (Duplex Doppler) will usually be performed to confirm the presence of blood clots in deep veins. A blood test known as a D-dimer test may also be performed if necessary. A lung scan can be used to detect a PE.

How are thrombophlebitis and DVT treated?
For superficial thrombophlebitis, the affected leg should be elevated regularly and heat applied to the area involved. Anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed—either oral or topical creams or gels.
Treatment of DVT usually involves hospitalization and treatment with injections of a low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), an anticoagulant that thins the blood and reduces the possibility of a clot. LMWHs include dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), and tinzaparin. Daily injections of a LMWH may also be given to prevent the formation of DVT in patients considered to be at risk following surgery.

Other anticoagulants such as standard heparin may also be given by injection to break down blood clots. Fondaparinux (Arixtra) is another drug that may be used as an alternative to LMWHs or standard heparin in the initial treatment of DVT. Following treatment with injections (or sometimes in combination treatment), anticoagulants such as warfarin will be prescribed. The dosage of these tablets is usually adjusted according to blood tests that show the blood clotting time; treatment needs to be continued for several months.

Further Information
National Institute of Health:

Last Reviewed: May 2013