What is phlebitis (superficial venous thrombophlebitis)?
Phlebitis is a medical word that means “inflammation of the vein”. It is made up from two portions:
- “Phleb” – with means “veins” or “of the veins”, and
- “itis” – this means inflammation
It is also more correctly called “superficial venous thrombophlebitis”.
The reason that medics use the full name, superficial venous thrombophlebitis, is that this name points out two additional but essential features of phlebitis.
Firstly phlebitis or superficial venous thrombophlebitis usually occurs in the superficial veins, i.e. the veins near the surface.
Secondly, the cause of the inflammation in the vein that presents as phlebitis, is almost always caused by, or associated with, a clot or “thrombus” within the vein itself.