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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, incidence, and risk factors

Phlegmasia alba dolens

Symptoms

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

Signs and tests

For information on diagnosis, see: Deep venous thrombosis

Treatment

For information on treatment, see: Deep venous thrombosis

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.

Calling your health care provider

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

References

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


Review Date: 3/14/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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