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Rivista di Angiologia
Official Journal of the , the International Union of Phlebology and the
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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International Angiology 2002 June;21(2):187-92
Clinical presentation and anatomic distribution of chronic venous insufficiency of the lower limb in a typical Mediterranean population
Giannoukas A. D., Tsetis D., Ioannou C., Kostas T., Kafetzakis A., Petinarakis I., Kardoulas D., Touloupakis E., Katsamouris A.
Division of Vascular Surgery and *Department of Radiology, University Hospital of Heraklion University of Crete School of Medicine, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Background. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the characteristics of lower limb chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) in a homogenous Mediterranean population.
Methods. Investigation of 694 patients with uni- or bilateral symptoms and signs of lower limb CVI using colour duplex scanning. Limbs with previous venous surgery were excluded. The limbs were classified according to history and ultrasonic findings into those with post-thrombotic and those with primary CVI. The clinical presentation according to the CEAP classification was correlated to the anatomic distribution of venous reflux.
Results. Most of the symptomatic limbs (537/656, 81.5%) with primary CVI belonged to classes 1 to 3. In these limbs reflux confined to superficial veins was very common (64.5%, 424/656) whereas the prevalence of deep and perforator vein reflux was 18.5 and 25.5%, respectively. In contrast most of the limbs (69.5%) with post-thrombotic CVI belonged to classes 4 to 6, had a complex pattern of reflux, and involvement of deep and perforator veins was common (86.5 and 48%, respectively). In about a quarter (24%) of patients with suspected primary CVI no reflux was found in either limb on duplex scanning. Most of them (48%) had telangiectasis. Bilateral reflux was found in 71% of the patients with primary CVI.
Conclusions. The clinical presentation was worse in limbs with post-thrombotic CVI than in those with a primary disease. Post-thrombotic CVI was associated with a complex pattern of reflux, affecting mostly the deep and perforator veins, whereas superficial reflux was the most common pattern in limbs with primary CVI. Therefore, surgery aiming to eliminate superficial reflux would confer only a minimal benefit in limbs with post-thrombotic CVI but would treat the majority of the limbs with the primary CVI. The high prevalence of bilateral reflux found in patients with primary CVI suggests a bilateral predisposition, which supports the hypothesis of the existence of a generalised venous disease.