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Noticed swollen vein on wrist. Ultrasound showed no blockage or clots. What could be causing this?

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the cephalic vein extending 6-7 inches above my wrist is swollen and prominent, and the are below that toward and around my wrist is swollen, red and tender. I may have hit my arm working at my car, but there were no punctures. My doctor did an ultrasound just at the area and said there were no blockages, clots. What could cause this, and can there be a clot much further up my arm causing this backup of flow?
Posted Thu, 8 Nov 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Anantharamakrishnan 1 hour later

A single swollen vein, in a setting of injury - the prime possibility is Thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the vein). There could only be inflammation without significant obstruction.

As you have rightly suspected, the problem could be downstream (further higher up) in the course of the vein. An obstruction might not have been discernible at that time, soon after the insult. It has to be checked again and checked all the way.

They generally do a Doppler study. Venous angiography is the surest way to entertain or exclude the issue - but it is rarely done, because it may by itself promote thrombosis.

Do write back if you have more concerns to ask.

Good luck
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Follow-up: Noticed swollen vein on wrist. Ultrasound showed no blockage or clots. What could be causing this? 20 hours later
Thank you for your information. I started bactrim bid yesterday andicing the area. Overnight the swelling has gone down considerably, and I am in much less discomfort. The vein in the forearm is still raised but not as much and while there is some edema - not as much. Is the antibiotic the cure - because there was nbo break in the skin, just the car trunk lid hitting it firmly. If it feels better should I still do the doppler test?

Answered by Dr. Anantharamakrishnan 2 hours later

Yes, it is wiser to do the Doppler.
Bactrim is good for infection. It is an antibiotic. It has obviously done good. Complete the course - at least 5 days.
Ice helps in acute stage of inflammation.
External injury often has no relation to XXXXXXX injury. When present, it draws attention; it increases the chances of infection!

Good luck
PS: XXXXXXX is the one who found out the blood circulation...
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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