Unlike deep vein thrombosis, which affects the deep veins commonly found in the lower trunk of the body, superficial vein thrombosis or SVT refers to a blood clot in the superficial veins throughout the body. Depending on your age and the current condition of your skin, superficial vein thrombosis is increasingly common and caused by trauma to the superficial veins, usually by intravenous needles and catheters. For those who develop deep vein thrombosis, it is highly likely that they will develop SVT as well.
And unlike deep vein thrombosis, which is prevalent within the lower portion of the body, superficial vein thrombosis can develop anywhere in the upper or lower half of the body. This venous condition is not as severe as deep vein insufficiency and potential embolism, but is still an indicator of preexisting venous issues beneath the surface. Over 60% of the time, patients who already have varicose veins present in the body have some indications of superficial vein thrombosis.
SVT in the Saphenous Veins, Abdominal, and Chest Area
Veins within the body that are commonly affected are the saphenous vein located inside of the thighs, as well as veins within the chest and abdominal areas. Many superficial vein clots stem from external injury, but this is not always the case. For those patients with specific blood proteins or clotting factors that can cause thickening of the blood, additional testing is required.
How will I know if I have superficial vein thrombosis?
As we age, sometimes veins closest to the surface of our skin can become prominent due to the loss of the skin’s firmness and volume, leaving these veins at risk of being exposed to trauma. In this instance, even a small bump here or there can cause vein inflammation, leading to dark spots on the skin and the hardening of those veins as they heal. As such, superficial vein thrombosis is inflammation of the veins when we incur damage to our skin that bruises and impacts these veins. Once inflammation of the veins begins, the immune system cues an army of tiny collagen and fibrin fibers to attach to the damaged area in the vein, causing clotting to occur.
Clotting is meant to be temporary, as the body heals the surrounding tissue and vein wall. However, sometimes these clots do not degrade as they’re meant to, and end up blocking the vein for an extended period, often creating stress on low-pressure veins. The veins affected by superficial vein thrombosis are hardened and can resemble long, firm cords. Surface examination of the veins is possible but often ultrasound, or intravenous exploration, is best to determine if deeper issues exist.
How can I treat superficial vein thrombosis?
Generally, these clots can be easily broken up and metabolized with the use of medication to prevent existing or future clots from forming (as often occurs with thicker and slow flowing blood). These medications will thin the blood or correct any particular clotting factors that are at work here.
Why should I be concerned about blood clots?
The concern with blood clots remaining longer than required to heal the vein is that they block healthy blood from moving back to the heart. Should your organs and tissues incur blocked blood vessels, veins and arteries, good nutrients and oxygen are blocked as well. To maintain healthy veins, we must eliminate factors that cause an increased risk of blood clots. Consistent blood clots present on the surface are an indication of other clots that could exist throughout the body. If these clots turn into serious embolisms, they can lodge anywhere within the brain, heart or lungs, causing a potentially fatal stroke or heart attack.
To learn more about heart healthy preventative care and how to care for your veins, call 1-888-876-8346 to schedule your appointment with our physicians at Canada Vein Clinics today. For those patients experiencing varicose veins and superficial vein thrombosis on the surface of the skin, we will offer preventative treatment options and solutions that are nonsurgical and painless to relieve symptoms.
To ensure optimal cardiovascular health, we offer a number of tests to ensure deeper veins are patent and normal blood flows to and from the heart.
At Canada Vein Clinics, we strive to treat your veins safely and as comfortably as possible. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our physician.