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A collapsed vein occurs when the exterior walls of the vein cave inward. This may be due to traumatic injury from repeated needle sticks or natural disease processes. Symptoms may include bruising, pain, or itching. Treatment is not usually necessary, as the vein will normally repair itself quite easily. If the collapse occurs due to medical problems such as vascular disease, the underlying medical condition must be addressed. Any specific questions or concerns about a collapsed vein in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Repeated needle sticks in the same general area of the body are among the leading causes of a collapsed vein. This symptom primarily occurs among those who must receive injections on a regular basis and is particularly common among the elderly due to thinning skin and weakened blood vessels. A long stay in the hospital that requires the use of intravenous medications or repeated blood draws may also increase the risks of having a collapsed vein. Poor technique by the health care provider or the injection of medications that can irritate the blood vessels may also lead to vein collapse.
A disease known as peripheral vascular disease is sometimes the cause of venous collapse. This disease causes reduced blood flow and increased pressure in the blood vessels, occasionally leading to collapse. Varicose veins, which can be highly noticeable and uncomfortable, are particularly vulnerable to collapse.
In most cases, there are no noticeable symptoms associated with a collapsed vein. Sometimes, there may be a slight burning sensation or mild discomfort at the site of the collapse. A few minutes to a few hours later, mild to moderate bruising may occur, but this is generally of no medical significance. As the bruising begins to heal, the area may begin to itch.
Treatment for a collapsed vein is rarely necessary, especially when it occurs as a result of a needle stick. The blood vessel will usually repair itself quickly, and there is rarely a medical risk resulting from the collapse of a vein. The exception to this would be a major rupture associated with a form of vascular disease. If there is severe pain or extreme bruising, a doctor should be consulted right away for further medical evaluation. In the most severe cases, surgical intervention may become necessary to repair the damaged vein and prevent excessive blood loss and other potential complications.