Medical Questions » Arteries and Veins Questions » Question No. 82
Question:I had a drip in my arm after an operation recently. Now there is a long, hard lump running 10 cm up my arm. Is this serious?
Answer:A This is a very common complication of an intravenous drip. The presence of a small plastic tube in a vein causes irritation of the vein wall. This in turn triggers the clotting mechanism in the blood, so that after several days the vein becomes blocked by a clot. This is why a new drip must be inserted into a different vein every few days, or special drugs must be used in the drip to stop it from blocking with a clot. Once the drip tube is removed, the area of irritation is still present, and again a clot can form. This can be felt as a hard, tender lump at the drip site, and may extend for several centimetres along the vein. If it is annoying, antiinflammatory medications and creams can be used to relieve the discomfort. It is not a serious problem, as the veins used are superficial and any clot is most unlikely to break off and reach the lungs.
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