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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2007 August;48(4):485-9


language: English

Clinical and hemodynamical findings in legs with previous surgery of the great saphenous vein: role of the small saphenous vein

Saarinen J. P. 1, 2, Heikkinen M. A. 1, Rasku K. 2, Salenius J. P. 1

1 Department of Surgery Division of Vascular Surgery Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland 2 Department of Surgery Hatanpää Hospital, Tampere, Finland


Aim. To assess the role of small saphenous vein (SSV) reflux in patients with a long history of varicose disease and previous stripping of the great saphenous vein (GSV).
Methods. Consecutive patients with a history of GSV stripping 5-19 years earlier were enrolled in this prospective clinical study. A total of 101 legs of 75 consecutive patients fulfilled the study criteria: previous stripping of GSV from ankle to groin at least 5 years earlier, no history of thromboembolism and no previous surgery of deep veins or SSV. All patients were studied clinically using standardized classifications: clinical class, clinical disability score (CDS) and venous clinical scoring system (VCSS). Colour flow duplex imaging (CFDI) was used to assess reflux in deep and superficial veins. Details of prior surgery were evaluated.
Results. Overall, SSV reflux was noted in 28 (28%) of the legs, recurrent GSV (rGSV) in the thigh in 41 (41%), reflux in tributaries alone in 28 (28%) and a combination of SSV and rGSV reflux in 4 (3%). Segmental deep reflux was measured in 23 (23%) of the legs; the prevalence of deep reflux was significantly higher in complicated than in uncomplicated legs (12% versus 47%; P<0.05). Deep reflux was more frequently associated with SSV reflux than with rGSV reflux (50% versus 22%; P<0.05). The prevalence of SSV with or without deep reflux increased from 17% to 50% (P<0.05) when uncomplicated (C2-3) and complicated (C4-6) legs were compared. A similar increase was not seen in the legs with rGSV (39% versus 44%; P>0.05). SSV reflux without deep reflux was observed in 25% of the legs with complicated (C4-6) disease, whereas the prevalence of SSV reflux was low (9%) in uncomplicated (C2-3) legs. VCSS was higher in the legs with SSV reflux than in those with rGSV reflux. CDS scores tended to be higher in the SSV reflux group than in the legs with rGSV reflux or tributary reflux alone. After exclusion of deep reflux, the results remained at the same level.
Conclusion. Small saphenous vein (SSV) reflux is common in legs with recurrent varicose veins and previous stripping of the GSV. SSV reflux alone is frequent in complicated legs, and SSV reflux is typically associated with segmental deep reflux. Clinical and hemodynamical findings stress the role of SSV reflux in this selected venous population.

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