Chronic Venous Insufficiency

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Chronic Venous Insufficiency is a condition in which there is valvular leakage.  In a normal person, blood travels from the heart to your legs via arteries.  This movement of blood goes “with” gravity.  Your vein’s job is to carry that blood back to your heart.  Veins are able to carry blood back to the heart because of built in unidirectional valves.  These valves allow blood to travel in one direction.  In chronic venous insufficiency, these valves fail.  This causes blood to “fall back” down to your feet.  In Diagram A, you can see that blood should only move in one direction, which is up back towards your heart.  When blood tries to fall back down towards your feet due to gravity, the uni-directional valve stops it.

In some people, because of various factors including genetic reasons, your valve stops working or becomes weak.  When this happens, blood will travel backwards.  Diagram B demonstrates this issue.  When you have “leaky” valves, the blood tend to fall back down to your feet when you’re in the standing position.  Because of the pressure build up that occurs when this happens, many patients will complain of leg heaviness, leg cramping, restless leg, spider veins, and varicose veins.

How is Chronic Venous Insufficiency diagnosed?

Leaky valves are diagnosed using duplex ultrasound.  When you visit our vein treatment center, we will perform a 2D Ultrasound imaging of your lower extremity checking for the leaky valve.  We position our patients in the standing position and using ultrasound technology, we can manipulate the valves to look at flow of blood.  By using careful doppler examination, we are able to detect blood going backwards.  At our clinic, all of our exams are performed by certified ultrasound technicians and read by board certified doctors.

Who does Chronic Venous Insufficiency effect?

Venous Insufficiency affects women more than men, and generally there is increased risk as you age.  While there are many known causes of venous insufficiency, pregnancy, genetics, and also history of trauma to your leg has been deemed as risk factors for venous insufficiency.  At our vein treatment center, we commonly see people from all over the world with varying degrees of disease and causes.

How can Chronic Venous Insufficiency be treated?

The goal of treating venous insufficiency depends on a combination of the patient’s primary concern and severity of the disease process.  We offer many treatment modalities, including sclerotherapy, radiofrequency vein ablation, endovenous laser vein ablation (EVLT), clarivein, and venaseal.  Our Vein Clinic is a center of excellence and our Vein Doctors regularly train physicians from all over the world in these techniques.

Is treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency safe?

In the right hands, treatment for chronic venous insufficiency is safe.  Delicate hands and also outstanding ultrasound guidance skills are required to carry this procedure out safely.  Our vein doctors trained at some of the best institutions in the world and are board certified by the Venous and Lymphatic Board of Medicine.

What if I don’t treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

The risks of not treating chronic venous insufficiency depends on a combination of how severe your disease process is – which is based on ultrasound examination and also based on your symptoms.  In most patients, this disease can be limited in nature.  However, if you start feeling increased symptoms such as more spider and varicose veins, leg cramping, leg swelling, restless leg syndrome, and leg heaviness – we recommend that you obtain consultation from a board certified Vein Doctor.