THE RELATIONSHIP of phlebitis of the lower limbs to pulmonary embolus was established by Virchow in 1846-1856.1 Since that time much has been learned about the incidence of phlebitis and the statistical relationship of the various types of phlebitis to pulmonary embolism. However, the serious problem of preventing emboli from reaching the lungs has not been satisfactorily solved to date. As a corollary of this, the prevention of further emboli after the initial one has reached the lungs is also a serious problem. It is with these two problems that this paper is concerned.
The treatment of thrombophlebitis complicated by pulmonary emboli has gone through three general eras which have been marked by waves of enthusiasm, unpopularity, and final acceptance for a definite set of clinical circumstances. The concept of venous interruption was proposed in 1934.2 This has since been applied to all levels in the lower extremities,