Author(s): Labropoulos N, Leon M, Nicolaides AN, Giannoukas AD, Volteas N,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess the distribution and extent of valvular incompetence in patients with reflux confined to the superficial venous system and correlate the extent of such reflux with clinical symptoms and signs. METHODS: Two hundred fifty-five limbs of 217 patients with superficial venous insufficiency and normal perforating and deep veins were examined with color-flow duplex imaging. One hundred twenty-three limbs (48.2\%) of 102 patients had reflux confined to the long saphenous system, 83 limbs (32.6\%) of 72 patients had reflux confined to the the short saphenous system, and 49 limbs (19.2\%) of 43 patients had reflux in both long and short saphenous systems. RESULTS: In the long saphenous system the commonest pattern of reflux was that which extended throughout the length of long saphenous vein (LSV) (47\%). Ache, swelling, and skin changes were common in the presence of below knee reflux irrespective whether the thigh segment was involved. Ulceration (8\%) was found only in limbs with reflux extending throughout the length of LSV. In the short saphenous system the most common pattern of reflux extended throughout the length of short saphenous vein (SSV) (57\%) without involvement of Giacomini or gastrocnemial veins. Ache and swelling were present in 62\% and 72\% of the limbs, but this incidence was not related to the extent of reflux. Swelling, skin changes, and ulceration occurred only when the whole of the SSV was involved. In the limbs with reflux in both the long and short saphenous systems, the most common pattern of reflux extended throughout the length of both systems (45\%). In these limbs the incidence of swelling was 80\%. The incidence of skin changes went from 44\% when the below-knee segment of the LSV was involved to 73\% when reflux occurred throughout the LSV and SSV. Ulceration (14\%) was found only in the latter situation. Variable patterns of saphenogastrocnemial termination were seen. In 57.8\% of the limbs SSV joined the popliteal vein just above the popliteal crease, whereas the SSV terminated in the thigh in 26.6\%. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that ache, ankle edema, and skin changes in limbs with reflux confined to the superficial venous system are predominantly associated with reflux in the below-knee veins. Ulceration is found only when the whole of the LSV is involved (8\%) or when reflux is extensive in both LSV and SSV (14\%).
This article was published in J Vasc Surg
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research