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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2000 October;48(10):277-86

language: English

Varicose symptoms without varicose veins: the hypotonic phlebopathy, epidemiology and pathophysiology. The Acireale project

Andreozzi G. M., Signorelli S., Di Pino L., Garozzo S., Cacciaguerra G., Leone A., Martini R.


Ever since 1982 the authors have been interested in varicose symptoms without varicose veins. Carrying out several pilot studies with infrared photoplethysmography (PPG) and strain gauge plethysmography they suggest that the pathophysiology of this behaviour could be caused by the reduction of the venous wall tone. They propose the name of Hypotonic Phlebopathy (HP). The diagnosis criteria are focused by symptoms (heavy legs in upright position, restless leg syndrome, sub-oedema and/or evening oedema) and signs detected by PPG, s.g plethysmography and duplex scanning (reduction of the muscle-venous calf pump and increase of the venous wall compliance). Epidemiology, assessed between 1989 and 1992 (Acireale Project), showed a 15.90%morbidity, with higher prevalence in females; the most important risk factors are pregnancy and family history. HP is not rare in males; the principal risk factor is work involving standing for long periods. These behaviours have been independently confirmed by two studies carried out in France in 1992, which showed a 15% prevalence in a similar group of subjects with functional venous insufficiency. The authors suggest the introduction of the term of Hypotonic Phlebopathy, the symptoms of which are significantly improved by phlebotonic drugs, especially when they are stronger. CEAP classification: C(0-S); E(P); A(0); P(unclassifiable); Clinical score (1-2); Anatomical score (0); Disability score (1).

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