Medline ® Abstract for Reference 6
of 'Suppurative (septic) thrombophlebitis'
Septic phlebitis: a neglected disease.
Baker CC, Petersen SR, Sheldon GF
Am J Surg. 1979;138(1):97.
A review of 100 patients with peripheral septic phlebitis revealed that 54 per cent of the cases were due to intravenous catheters and 46 per cent were secondary to drug abuse. Eighty per cent of the involved veins were in the arm or neck. Pain was the most common symptom (83 per cent), with erythema and edema the most common physical signs (63 per cent). Eighty per cent of the causative organisms were gram-positive bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus (41 per cent) or Group A streptococcus (20 per cent). Complications were more common if septic phlebitis was due to intravenous therapy than drug abuse. No deaths were directly attributed to septic phlebitis. However, hospital stay after development of septic phlebitis was 14 days with a 56 per cent complication rate. The initial treatment of septic phlebitis should include prompt removal of the intravenous device, antibiotics, heat, and elevation. Because serious complications occur in a significant number of patients, operative excision of the involved vein should be performed if clinical deterioration occurs or if septicemia persists after 24 hours despite conservative therapy.