Jugular Vein Thrombosis

Jugular vein thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in the neck veins or jugular veins. The formation of a thrombus does not have to be associated with coagulation disorders, but can point to malignant diseases or be the sign of a bacterial infection. The administration of heparin keeps the thrombus from further growth.

Jugular Vein Thrombosis

What is jugular vein thrombosis?

In asymptomatic patients, jugular vein thrombosis is usually discovered as an incidental finding during sonographic examinations. Sonography is always the method of choice for diagnosis.

According to eshaoxing.info, Thrombosis is a vascular disease. A blood clot or thrombus forms in the blood vessels. Thrombosis can affect all vessels in the body. Veins are most commonly affected by thrombus formation. In this case we are also talking about venous thrombosis or phlebothrombosis.

Jugular vein thrombosis affects the jugular veins, also known as the internal, external, and anterior jugular veins. These vessels are located in the head and neck region and exit the structure of the cranial cavity through the posterior portion of the jugular foramen. In jugular vein thrombosis, there is usually a unilateral thrombotic occlusion of the large veins in the neck. The internal jugular vein is most commonly affected.

The occlusive disease of the jugular veins occurs comparatively rarely and is characterized by an extremely variable clinical course. Previously, the phenomenon carried a high risk of sepsis. Nowadays, a septic course is rather the exception. Since the introduction of antibiotics, bacterial infections are no longer a very common cause of jugular vein thrombosis.


Thrombosis of the jugular veins can correspond to a complication of therapeutic interventions and often occurs, for example, with the placement of a central venous catheter or extensive interventions in the neck area. In addition, masses such as tumors can under certain circumstances obstruct the vein and thus promote the formation of a thrombus.

Cervical inflammatory processes caused by cervical phlegmon, in the context of a peritonsillar abscess or as a result of mastoiditis can also cause jugular vein thrombosis. Less commonly, thrombosis is the result of intravenous drug abuse with injections into the veins of the neck. Far more common are causes such as blunt neck trauma or general coagulation disorders. Jugular vein thrombosis can also occur as a secondary manifestation in the context of pancreatic cancer, bronchial cancer, gastric cancer or ovarian cancer.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The clinical picture of jugular vein thrombosis is variable. Some patients develop a high fever. They complain unilaterally about painful swelling of the neck, which causes them to adopt a relieving posture. This protective posture can also lead to tension and pain in the area of ​​the cervical spine.

In some cases, the thrombosis also causes swallowing and voice disorders by pressing on the vocal cords, trachea, or esophagus. Some patients are sensitive to pressure in the area of ​​the vascular trunk. Sepsis following the thrombosis can occur in the context of bacterially infectious thrombi, but is rather rare today.

Non-specific signs of illness such as neck swelling, headaches or enlarged neck lymph nodes are more frequent accompanying symptoms. Under certain circumstances, a tough, consistent strand can be felt along the course of the affected vein. In some cases, the so-called Queckenstedt sign is positive. In exceptional cases, jugular vein thrombosis does not cause any symptoms.

Diagnosis & course of disease

In asymptomatic patients, jugular vein thrombosis is usually discovered as an incidental finding during sonographic examinations. Sonography is always the method of choice for diagnosis. Imaging procedures such as CT or MRI can also allow a reliable diagnosis, but they burden the patient with contrast media.

Therefore, sonography should be given priority in suspected jugular vein thrombosis. In laboratory tests, patients can show an increase in D-dimers. In the case of infections, there are increased infection parameters such as the C-reactive protein or leukocytosis. To differentiate the thrombosis from a degeneration of the lymph nodes.

At first glance, malignant lymph nodes look like a thrombotic vein occlusion, especially in axial tomograms, and must be clearly ruled out if the findings are appropriate. Patient prognosis depends on the primary cause of thrombosis.


The jugular vein thrombosis can lead to various complaints and restrictions in the everyday life of the person concerned. In most cases, however, the patients suffer from a strong fever and a general feeling of illness. In addition, there is often exhaustion and the resilience of the affected person is significantly reduced and restricted by the jugular vein thrombosis.

There is also severe swelling in the neck area. The neck feels tense and there is pain in these regions. It is not uncommon for the pain to spread from the neck area to other regions of the body, where it can also lead to symptoms. This leads to headaches and, in the case of pain at rest, to sleeping disorders.

The patient’s quality of life is significantly restricted and reduced by the symptoms of jugular vein thrombosis. A sore throat can also occur. The treatment of jugular vein thrombosis can be carried out with the help of medication and usually leads to a positive course of the disease. There are no particular complications. Life expectancy is also not reduced by this disease in most cases. The patient may need to take blood thinners.

When should you go to the doctor?

Swelling in the neck is an indication of an irregularity that should be examined by a doctor. If the symptoms persist or increase in intensity, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. Particular attention should be paid to the changes on the throat in the absence of cold diseases. If irregularities can be felt externally, they should be presented to a doctor. Since jugular vein thrombosis, if left untreated, can lead to premature death of the affected person, a medical examination to clarify the cause is necessary in good time.

Tensions in the cervical vertebrae that set in without a bad physical posture are considered unusual. It is recommended that you have them evaluated by a doctor. If pain occurs in the neck area or if the head and neck are in a relaxed position, these are warning signs that should be followed up. If you have speech problems, breathing problems or something special about the swallowing process, you should consult a doctor.

If food intake is refused due to swallowing difficulties or if there is a reduced intake of fluids, the organism can become undersupplied in the further course. A doctor’s visit is necessary as soon as a feeling of internal dryness sets in or there is a large loss of weight. Otherwise, dehydration threatens a life-threatening condition. Swelling of the lymph, a dull feeling when hearing, or a headache should also be checked out by a doctor.

Treatment & Therapy

In principle, the treatment of jugular vein thrombosis always depends on the underlying disease or the cause of the thrombus formation. The causal therapeutic administration of heparin is always indicated in the case of excessive blood coagulation. In order to rule out complications such as sepsis in the case of a bacterial infection, certain antibiotics are administered depending on the pathogen in question.

Intraluminal lysis therapies are not usually carried out, since the risk of sepsis increases with them. If sepsis is imminent or has already started, this phenomenon is the main focus of treatment. In the extreme case of sepsis, an operatively invasive ligature or even a partial or complete resection of the affected vein may be necessary. In the case of causal coagulation disorders, the treatment of thrombosis with the administration of anticoagulant heparin preparations is usually much easier.

Once the thrombus stops growing, the body can start cleaning up and breaking down the clot. Artificially induced thrombolysis has not been used for the most part to dissolve thrombi in the veins. The reason for this is the risk of bleeding that occurs during thrombolysis within the veins.

Outlook & Forecast

Jugular vein thrombosis has an unfavorable course without medical treatment. This disorder causes blood clots to form in the neck and head. If the person concerned does not receive medical care or medical care, the thrombus can be expected to grow. As a result, existing complaints gradually increase in intensity and, over time, new irregularities appear, leading to a decrease in well-being. In addition to headaches, swallowing disorders and swelling, there is a general decrease in the quality of life. Fulfilling everyday obligations becomes increasingly difficult and complications can arise.

When medical care is sought, the thrombus is surgically removed. This is associated with the usual risks and side effects. If the procedure proceeds without further complications, the blood circulation is regulated and the health impairments are alleviated. In many patients, freedom from symptoms can be documented a short time after the removal of the thrombus.

Despite recovery, there is a possibility of recurrence with this condition. A recurrence in the course of life is possible at any time. The prognosis is unchanged in the case of renewed jugular vein thrombosis. The sooner the disease is diagnosed and treated, the better and faster the relief of symptoms can be.


Above all, patients with increased blood clotting due to blood that is too thick can prevent the formation of thrombi by taking certain medications over the long term. Blood- thinning drugs based on acetylsalicylic acid or ASA are sometimes used for this purpose.

There are also various home remedies for thinning the blood, such as ginger, nuts, avocado and pomegranate. Taking home remedies in no way replaces medical advice or medical care, but should only be used in combination with medication if indicated.


Direct aftercare measures are severely limited in most cases of jugular vein thrombosis. Ideally, the person affected should contact a doctor at an early stage so that no further complications or complaints arise for the person concerned, since this disease cannot heal on its own. The sooner a doctor is consulted, the better the further course of the jugular vein thrombosis.

In most cases, this disease is treated by taking various medications. In any case, the person concerned should ensure that the medication is taken regularly and that the dosage is correct in order to permanently relieve the symptoms. If anything is unclear or if you have any questions, you should always consult a doctor first. Likewise, regular check-ups by a doctor are very important in this disease.

In case of severe bleeding or injury, a doctor should be consulted. In many cases, patients with this disease depend on the help and support of their own family or friends. Loving and intensive conversations are also useful, as this can also prevent psychological complaints or depression.

You can do that yourself

In most cases, the patient with a jugular vein thrombosis has no options for self-help. In any case, medical treatment is necessary for this disease to prevent further complications.

Since the person affected with this disease is often dependent on taking antibiotics, possible interactions with other medications should be taken into account. It is best to tell the doctor about other medications you are taking to avoid these interactions. Likewise, the consumption of alcohol when taking antibiotics should be strictly avoided.

In order to avoid the formation of thrombi in general, the affected person should take blood-thinning medication if they have known previous illnesses. Various foods are also available to those affected, such as avocado, ginger, nuts or pomegranate. Nevertheless, those affected are dependent on taking heparin to inhibit blood clotting. Contact with other affected people often helps, as this leads to an exchange of information, which can make everyday life easier for the patient. If there are psychological problems, talking to your friends or relatives is very helpful.