Phlegmasia cerulea dolens

Definition

Phlegmasia cerulea dolens is an uncommon, severe form of deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the vein), usually in the upper leg.

Causes

Phlegmasia alba dolens

Symptoms

Pain, swelling, and bluish-skin coloring affect the area below the blocked vein.

Exams and Tests

For information on diagnosis, see: Deep venous thrombosis

Treatment

For information on treatment, see: Deep venous thrombosis

Possible Complications

Continued clotting can lead to increased swelling. The swelling can interfere with blood flow. This complication is called phlegmasia alba dolens. It causes the skin to turn white. Phlegmasia alba dolens may lead to tissue death (gangrene) and the need for amputation.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

See immediate medical help if an arm or leg is severely swollen, blue, or painful.

Figures

Venous blood clot

References

Ginsberg J. Peripheral venous disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 81.

Revision

Last reviewed 2/24/2014 by Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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