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International Angiology 2004 June;23(2):154-63


lingua: Inglese

Epidemiology of chronic venous insufficiency of the lower limbs in the primary care setting

Callejas J. M. 1, Manasanch J. 2, for the ETIC Group

1 Angiology and Vascular Surgery Department, Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain; 2 Pierre Fabre Ibérica S. A., Barcelona, Spain


Aim. The objective of the study was to describe the general characteristics, risk factors and clinical symptoms of patients seeking medical care at the primary care setting because of chronic venous insufficiency.
Methods. A total of 606 general practitioners throughout Spain participated in this epidemiological, cross-sectional, multicenter study in which 6 695 patients were included. During a 3-month period, each participating physician filled out a questionnaire for all consecutive patients with venous leg complaints attended at his/her consultation. The following data were recorded: demographic features and anthropometric characteristics, level of physical activity, tobacco and/or alcohol consumption, number of pregnancies, other risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency, clinical manifestations, and signs on physical examination.
Results. Women accounted for 81.3% of the sample. Risk factors included tobacco smoking in 33.8% of cases, alcohol consumption in 25%, low physical activity in 55.7%, and family history in 47.2%. Patients recognized prolonged standing as the most frequent factor probably related to the origin of the symptoms (30.7%). Heaviness in the legs (84.8%) and itching (53.9%) were the most common symptoms, whereas ankle edema (43.6%) was the most frequent sign followed by telangiectases (37.6%). The presence of family history, a higher body mass index an age older than 45 years seems to be related with an increased frequency of clinical manifestations.
Conclusion. Among patients seeking medical care because of chronic venous insufficiency, women seemed to ask for attention more frequently than men and the beginning of symptoms was mainly related to a prolonged orthostatic posture, being overweight the second cause stated. Heavy legs was the most frequent symptom followed by itching, and ankle edema was the most frequent sign.

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