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Phlebitis

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Definition

noun, plural: phlebitides

Inflammation of a vein, especially the one in the leg


Supplement

Phlebitis is a condition where the vein is inflamed, often the vein in the lower leg. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, and erythema in the area over the inflamed vein. Possible causes are trauma, surgery, and infection. However, there are cases wherein phlebitis occurs for other reasons such as genetic conditions.

There are also instances wherein blood clot forms inside the inflamed vein and this condition is referred to as thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis involving superficial veins is usually not dangerous since blood flow can pass at other channels. However, it becomes a health risk when deep veins are involved. The clot may not totally occlude the inflamed vein but the clot may dislodge and travel as an embolus to reach other blood vessels such as those in the lungs (see pulmonary embolism).


Word origin: Greek phleps (vein) + -itis (inflammation)

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