Phlebitis is the inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs. It most commonly occurs in superficial veins. Phlebitis often occurs in conjunction with thrombosis and is then called "thrombophlebitis" or "superficial thrombophlebitis". Unlike deep vein thrombosis, the probability that superficial thrombophlebitis will cause a clot to break up and be transported in pieces to the lung is very low.
Phlebitis is typically caused by local trauma to a vein, usually from the insertion of an intravenous catheter. However, phlebitis can also occur due to a complication of connective tissue disorders such as lupus, or of pancreatic, breast, or ovarian cancers. Phlebitis can also result from certain medications and drugs that irritate the veins, such as desomorphine.
Superficial phlebitis often presents as an early sign in Thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease), a vasculitis that affects small and medium-sized arteries and veins in distal extremities often associated with cigarette smoking .
In King Of The Hill, when Mr. Strickland took Bible study classes in the pool with Luanne, Hank noted that it was "good for his phlebitis".
In the M*A*S*H episode "The Young and the Restless", Colonel Potter suffers through a bout of phlebitis, aggravated by his initial refusal to acknowledge his condition.
In Futurama, Richard Nixon's head reminisces about his "good Republican body" that was "riddled with phlebitis."
In Knute Rockne, All American, Rockne suffers from phlebitis. His doctor orders bed rest and blames the condition on continuing rough hits at football practice: "You're not a young man, anymore, Knute. You're 42."
In the 2009 film Frost/Nixon, Richard Nixon is taken into the hospital having suffered an attack of phlebitis.