Common methods to detect phlebitis may not be sufficient for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). The goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility of infrared (IR) thermography to objectively detect phlebitis in adult ICU patients. We included a total of 128 adult ICU-patients in a pilot and subsequent validation study. Median [interquartile range] age was 62 [54-71] years and 88 (69%) patients were male. Severity of phlebitis was scored using the visual infusion phlebitis (VIP)-score, ranging from 0 (no phlebitis) to 5 (thrombophlebitis). The temperature difference (ΔT) between the insertion site and a proximal reference point was measured with IR thermography. In 78 (34%) catheters early phlebitis and onset of moderate phlebitis was observed (VIP-score of 1-3). In both the pilot and the validation study groups ΔT was significantly higher when the VIP-score was ≥1 compared to a VIP-score of 0 (p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively). Multivariate analysis identified ΔT (p<0.001) and peripheral venous catheter (PVC) dwell time (p = 0.001) as significantly associated with phlebitis. IR thermography may be a promising technique to identify phlebitis in the ICU. An increased ΔT as determined with thermography may be a risk factor for phlebitis.