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Definition of Phlebitis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Phlebitis: Inflammation of a vein. With phlebitis, there is infiltration of the walls of the vein and, usually, the formation of a clot (thrombus) in the vein (thrombophlebitis). Phlebitis in a leg, for example, causes the leg to swell with fluid (edema). Phlebitis can be superficial and not very serious, or it can be deep and carry the potential for dislodging blood clots to the lungs.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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