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Online ISSN 1827-1847
Marone E. M. 1, Volonté M. 2, Limoni C. 3, Petrini O. 4, Chiesa R. 1
1 Department of Vascular Surgery, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Vita-Salute University, Milan, Italy
2 Boehringer Ingelheim, Milan, Italy
3 Alpha5, Riva San Vital, Switzerland
4 Cantonal Institute of Microbiology, Bellinzona, Switzerland
AIM: The aim of this paper was to investigate the behavior of a non-random sample of Italian chronic venous disorders (CVD) sufferers in the management of their complaints and to analyse the treatments recommended by phlebologists towards this problem.
METHODS: This was a cohort study as a part of a large CVD prevention programme. The sample was a non-random, cross-sectional sample of male and female patients selected through advertisements. Subjects described subjectively the presence of CVD complaints and the presence of CVD was then assessed conclusively by a specialist. Information about the different types of therapeutic intervention implemented before the examination or recommended by the specialist was collected. Each treatment option was related to socio-demographic variables, with particular reference to the region where patients lived, their family history and the severity of objective clinical signs.
RESULTS: The study analysed 31 659 subjects. In this sample, the most common manifestations of venous disease, especially in young women, were telangiectases; saphenous or non-saphenous varicose veins are slightly more frequent in males and subjects over 50 years of age. Medical or compression therapies were performed by a large portion of the population (>30%). Young people tend to prefer medical to compression therapy. In Southern Italy, medical therapy is widespread whereas in Central Italy compression stockings are only infrequently used. Specialists tend generally to prescribe conservative therapies for less severe forms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Compression stockings seem to be gradually replaced by drug therapy, in particular products of natural origin. Among natural remedies, bioflavonoids are the most used ones, whereas among terpenes, topical aescine is the most widespread.
CONCLUSION: The present study has demonstrated that in a large percentage of cases, Italian consumers suffering from problems related to venous insufficiency carry out conscious and informed self-medication.