Article Text

Download PDFPDF
IJV thrombophlebitis: be wary of the occult
  1. Pamela Oshinyemi,
  2. Charlotte Lee,
  3. Antony Gough-Palmer and
  4. Iain McKay-Davies
  1. The Ear, Nose and Throat Department, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Maidstone, Kent, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pamela Oshinyemi; pamela.oshinyemi{at}


A 43-year-old woman was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department with a 3-day history of left-sided neck pain and swelling associated with fevers and night sweats. She also reported a cough, oral thrush and a dental extraction more than a month previously. A CT scan of the neck with contrast revealed left internal jugular vein (IJV) thrombophlebitis and the patient was initially managed for suspected Lemierre’s syndrome. Subsequent investigations revealed a locally advanced metastatic colorectal adenocarcinoma as the cause of her thrombosis, which was deemed inoperable. The patient was referred to oncology and commenced on palliative chemotherapy.

The incidence of thrombophlebitis in patients with cancer is high. Although the IJV is a relatively uncommon site of thrombus formation, IJV thrombophlebitis is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. As it may be the first manifestation of an occult malignancy, a neoplastic cause should always be considered.

  • ear
  • nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • oncology
  • surgery

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors All authors contributed to the production of the manuscript. PO and IM-D contributed to the planning and design of the manuscript. PO, CL and IM-D contributed to writing and editing the manuscript. AG-P contributed to editing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.