There are several superficial vein thrombosis treatment options. A person’s symptoms and overall health can influence the type of treatment they receive.
Superficial vein thrombosis (SVT), also known as superficial thrombophlebitis, refers to inflammation and clotting in the veins close to the surface of the body. SVT typically occurs in the limbs but may present in the chest area.
This article examines the treatment options available for SVT.
The goal of treatment is to provide symptom relief and help prevent SVT from progressing into DVT.
NSAIDs are available by prescription and over the counter. They can be oral or topical. Examples include ibuprofen and aspirin.
Certain people should not use NSAIDs, such as those with kidney issues or bleeding from the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
- heart and blood vessels
NSAIDs also have several potential side effects, including:
Applying a warm washcloth or heating pad to the affected area several times a day can help ease SVT symptoms such as pain and swelling.
If a person chooses to apply a warm compress, they should ensure that it is not hot enough to irritate or burn the skin.
However, severe compression may impair blood flow toward the affected arm or leg. A person can talk with a healthcare professional about safe compression methods.
In addition to reducing inflammation in the affected limb, elevating for SVT also reduces the risk of clots because it helps prevent blood from pooling.
Anticoagulant, or anticlotting, medication can help prevent an SVT clot from breaking off and traveling to the lungs.
A 2018 study found that anticoagulant medications reduced the risk of existing SVT clot progression, SVT recurrence, and new venous thromboembolism development. Researchers found this benefit even at doses below therapeutic levels.
Anticoagulants can come as a pill or injection. A doctor may recommend several weeks of this treatment if:
- a person has severe symptoms
- the clot is extensive
- the clot is within inches of the deep vein system
- heavy menstrual flow
- prolonged nosebleeds
- blood in urine or stool
- vomiting or coughing up blood
- severe bruising
- bleeding gums
However, the importance of preventing SVT complications, such as DVT or PE, outweighs the medication’s side effects.
The primary risk from this medication is unmanaged bleeding. A person who takes anticoagulants should contact a doctor immediately if they have:
- sustained a blow to the head
- been involved in an accident
- have any type of bleeding that does not stop
A person experiencing SVT may want information from a doctor. Examples of questions to ask include:
- What are the signs of a blood clot?
- When is hospitalization necessary?
- What are the recommended home treatments?
- What caused this condition?
- What can help prevent future instances of SVT?
Below are some frequently asked questions about SVT.
Can surgery treat SVT?
In very rare cases, surgery may be an option. However, experts do not yet know the best time to perform the surgery and the benefits of performing surgery.
A person may wish to discuss the potential benefits and risks of surgery for SVT with a healthcare professional.
Is it safe for a person with SVT to exercise?
A person taking anticoagulant medication should avoid high risk sports that may increase the risk of an injury resulting in bleeding.
How long does it take for SVT to go away?
If SVT does not progress and there are no complicating factors, it can resolve after several weeks.
Is SVT serious?
Many instances of SVT are not serious. However, some cases can be dangerous if they progress to conditions such as DVT or PE.
SVT treatment aims to help prevent the condition from worsening.
At-home treatments include NSAIDs, compression, and the application of a warm compress. Doctors can also prescribe anticoagulation medication.
Mild cases of SVT may resolve on their own in a couple of weeks. Since SVT can progress to conditions such as DVT or PE, it is important to contact a doctor for an assessment.