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Incidence of deep vein thrombosis in patients diagnosed with superficial thrombophlebitis after presenting to an emergency department outpatient deep vein thrombosis service
  1. C Dewar,
  2. S Panpher
  1. Emergency Department, Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Colin Dewar, Emergency Department, Queen Margaret Hospital, Whitefield Road, Dunfermline, Fife KY12 0SU, UK; colin.dewar{at}faht.scot.nhs.uk

Abstract

Objective To determine the incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients diagnosed with superficial thrombophlebitis (STP) after presenting to an outpatient DVT service.

Method Six month prospective follow-up by telephone of patients diagnosed with STP after presenting to an outpatient DVT service. All patients who returned during follow-up with clinically suspected venous thrombosis underwent diagnostic testing (compression ultrasound).

Results A total of 79 patients was diagnosed with STP after the exclusion of DVT with the diagnostic protocol. The incidence of a subsequent diagnosis of DVT on 6-month follow-up was three out of 79 patients (4%, 95% CI 0.8% to 11%).

Conclusion Although STP is generally considered benign, there is a risk that it may coexist or develop into DVT. The underlying cause of STP should be considered and patients with significant risk factors should be advised to monitor their symptoms closely with regard to potential DVT formation.

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • superficial thrombophlebitis

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the local research ethics committee (reference number 1041).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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