Venous thrombosis: distinguishing mild forms of phlebitis at risk–treatment, care


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We talk about venous thrombosis when a blood clot forms in a vein and partially or completely blocks blood circulation. The most serious form of pulmonary embolism can lead to pulmonary embolism, which is responsible for between 10,000 and 20,000 deaths annually in France.

Vein thrombosis

Venous thrombosis is characterized by the formation of a blood clot in a vein, usually in the lower extremities. This mass of clotted blood partially or completely obstructs circulation.

exist Two types of venous thrombosis. Less serious, called arthrosis, affects the so-called superficial veins, close to the surface of the skin and not attached to the artery. According to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), more than 250,000 cases of rheumatoid arthritis occur each year on French soil.

They are distinguished from the more serious or deep venous thrombosis, which is called phlebitis. These affect the deep veins, which are located inside the muscles, and which play an important role in pushing blood toward the heart,” notes MD Thomas Caudriller, vascular doctor, member of the French Society of Vascular Medicine (SFMV) and the French Society of Phlebology. According to Inserm, Between 50,000 and 100,000 cases of phlebitis are reported each year.

Any forced immobilization promotes phlebitis

Venous insufficiency is a major site for clot formation. The venous network is not effective enough. Has difficulty returning blood from the lower extremities to the heart. Varicose veins, swollen and painful veins, are the most common symptom of this condition Which affects 18 million French people.

Every step taken on a daily basis contributes to the proper functioning of blood circulation. “On the contrary, forced immobilization, associated with gypsum, abdominal or even orthopedic surgery, can contribute to the formation of phlebitis,” assures the vascular doctor.

And this must be continued: “It’s the same when bacteria nail us in bed, as in the case of pneumonia.” Any inflammation increases the risk of DVT. The combination of tobacco pills and being overweight can cause this possibility.

Age and long plane trips are risk factors

People over the age of 60 are more likely to develop venous thrombosis. “Age is a risk factor. The onset of diseases such as cancer, too. It is very rare in children, unless they have a serious illness,” notes the vascular specialist.

Phlebitis can also find a cause in genetics. Thrombotic diseases are most often observed in the patient’s parents and/or grandparents. Blood tests can detect abnormalities.

Traveling for more than 4 consecutive hours by plane can lead to phlebitis. The sitting position puts pressure on the thighs for long periods. Depressurization of the cabin, which leads to low oxygen and significant dehydration, is also detrimental. This is why it is highly recommended that adults wear vein compression stockings. »

Pulmonary embolism in the event of a clot in the arteries

RA results in inflammation along the superficial vein pathway. “It feels like touching a wire to the skin As for the signs of phlebitis, they are quite classic. “Pain is felt more or less in the calf and sometimes in the thigh.” Redness may appear on the lower leg, and swelling may form up to the groin.

Sometimes deep thrombosis gets worse when a blood clot accidentally breaks off and becomes lodged in the pulmonary arteries. “This is called a pulmonary embolism,” adds the angiologist. The affected lung is damaged. The affected part can no longer provide the body with oxygen.

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism vary from person to person. This can be shown as breathing difficulties or by Cough where coughing up blood. Chest pain, which is stronger on inspiration, can also be a sign. According to Inserm, 40,000 cases occur each year in France, and we account for between 10,000 and 20,000 deaths.

Injections and anticoagulant medications

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis varies depending on where it is located. We treat the lightest with anti-inflammatory cream, ice, paracetamol or by wearing intravenous compression (stockings, tights, etc.). “Rheumatoid arthritis is more significant when it affects, for example, the thigh. They may need injections of anticoagulant injections,” the doctor comments. injection of anticoagulants or Anticoagulant drugs in case of phlebitis.

There is no standard preventive treatment against venous thrombosis except for the recommendation to engage in physical activity, to change positions regularly when sitting for a long time. It is also recommended to avoid smoking. In addition, being overweight is a risk factor.

When Covid-19 increases your risk of developing a blood clot

Covid-19 can increase the risk of venous thrombosis, especially when the infection is severe. “SARS-CoV-2 is a blood-clotting virus,” notes Dr. Thomas Caudriller, a vascular physician. The risk of phlebitis is not quantified for patients who do not require hospitalization. It is about 14% for inpatients. It is 45% when a patient is admitted to intensive care.

Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain this risk:

It may be related to slowed circulation due to bed rest and possible obesity.

It can also arise from inflammation associated with the immune response during infection and with lesion of the vessel wall (increased by the presence of catheters). The risk of thrombosis also occurs if clotting is increased due to inflammation caused by infection.

  • Image credit: Getty Images
The author of the article

Patricia Gibboni

A public journalist specializing in the social and health field.


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