External Jugular Vein Thrombosis

Also Known As:

What is External Jugular Vein Thrombosis?

Thrombosis is a general term describing the condition that occurs when a blood clot develops within a blood vessel, causing the blood flow to be restricted or completely stopped. This blockage causes pressure to build up, and can result in very serious life threatening issues.

External Jugular Vein Thrombosis is a rare type of Venous Thrombosis, that occurs when a blood clot forms in the external jugular vein. The jugular veins take deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart via the superior vena cava.

External Jugular Vein Thrombosis can have serious potentially life-threatening complications, including a Pulmonary Embolism, and can spread to the internal jugular veins.


Virchow’s Triad (or the Triad of Virchow), describes the three broad categories that are thought to contribute to Thrombosis:
•   Hypercoagulability: Abnormalities in blood coagulation, fibrinolytic pathways and in platelet function
•   Vascular Wall Injury/Dysfunction: Injuries and/or trauma to the interior lining of blood vessels
•   Circulatory Stasis: The slowing or stopping of blood flow

Factors that can increase the risk of developing External Jugular Vein Thrombosis include:
•   Head and neck infections
•   Head, neck, and cardiac surgical procedures
•   Central vein catheter
•   Cancers and tumours
•   Polycythemia
•   Hyperhomocysteinemia
•   Repetitive neck massages
•   Neck trauma
•   Intravenous (IV) drug abuse


The symptoms of External Jugular Vein Thrombosis may include:
•   Swollen, painful, elongated masses on the neck
•   Pain and swelling in the back
•   Fever
•   Sharp pain and redness at the site of the swollen vein

Diagnosis & Treatment

The diagnosis of External Jugular Vein Thrombosis is often challenging. The Doctor will carry out a physical examination, blood tests and scans and may order the following tests:
•   CT Scan
•   MRI Scan
•   Ultrasound Scan
•   Venogram
•   Blood Culture Test

Treatment of the underlying cause or malignancy is the most definitive therapy. The exact treatment will depend on any complications and the underlying cause. Treatments may include:
•   Anticoagulant Medications
•   Inferior Vena Cava Filter
•   Endovascular treatment
•   Surgery
•   Thrombolytic Medications

Additional Information

Also see: Thrombosis, Jugular Vein Thrombosis, Internal Jugular Vein Thrombosis

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Published Date:

19th December 2018


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