Etiology: Phlebitis: the inflammation of a vein. Cause unknown. May occur in acute or chronic infections or following operations or childbirth.
SYMPTOMS: Pain and tenderness along the course of the vein; discoloration of the skin; inflammatory swelling and acute edema below obstruction, rapid pulse, mild elevation of temperature. A doctor should be consulted immediately.
Etiology: Embolism: the obstruction of a blood vessel by foreign substances or a blood clot. Diagnosis depends upon predisposing factors. Embolism usually due to blood clots.
Etiology: Thrombosis: the formation, development, or existence of a blood clot or thrombus within the vascular system. This is a life-saving process when it occurs during hemorrhage. It is a life-threatening event when it occurs at any other time because the clot can occlude a vessel and stop the blood supply to an organ or a part. The thrombus, if detached, becomes an embolus and occludes a vessel at a distance from the original site; for example a clot in the leg may break off and cause a pulmonary (lung) embolus. Consult the doctor immediately.
CAUSES: Trauma, esp. following an operation, childbirth, cardiac and vascular disorders, obesity, heredity, increasing age, an excess of erythrocytes (red blood cells) and of platelets, an overproduction of fibrinogen, and sepsis (bacteria or other harmful organisms in the blood stream) are predisposing causes.
SYMPTOMS: Lungs: Obstruction of smaller vessels in the lungs causes an infarct manifested by sudden pain in the side of the chest, similar to pleurisy; also the spitting of blood, a pleural friction rub; and signs of consolidation.
Kidneys: Blood appears in the urine and small hemorrhagic spots in the skin.
Spleen: Pain is felt in the left upper abdomen
Extremities: If a large artery in one of the extremities, such as the brachial, is suddenly obstructed, the part becomes cold, pale, bluish, and the pulse disappears below the obstructed site. Gangrene of the digits (toes or fingers) or of the whole limb may ensue.
If any or all of the above symptoms appear, see the doctor immediately.
RECOMMENDATIONS: If the limb is swollen, watch for pressure sores. Guard against burning with hot water bottle or electric pad. Prolonged bedrest may be necessary depending on the condition of the patient.
Anticoagulant therapy is necessary. When a thrombus or embolus is large, surgical removal may be necessary.
Oral contraceptives should be discontinued until all symptoms are gone. Consult the doctor as to when to resume oral contraceptives.
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