Suppurative Thrombophlebitis: A Lethal Iatrogenic Disease

John M. Stein, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In 521 patients hospitalized for burns, and treated by venous cannulation, suppurative thrombophlebitis developed in 24 (4.6 per cent). The suppurative process was clinically suspected during life in only 11 of the 24 patients. In these, a latent period of two to 10 days between removal of the cannula and onset of thrombophlebitis was typical. If examination of the site of cannula introduction fails to yield purulent material, exploratory proximal venotomy is recommended. The diagnosis is made by the finding of gross or microscopic suppuration within the lumen of the vein. Nonsurgical treatment with specific antibiotics, anticoagulants, elevation and local care fails to eradicate the disease. Curative treatment is surgical and requires excision of the entire length of the involved vein, followed, preferably, by delayed wound closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1452-1455
Number of pages4
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 25 1970

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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