What are the morbidities associated with venous insufficiency?

Updated: Oct 22, 2018
  • Author: Robert Weiss, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

The syndromes of venous hypertension and reduced venous clearance are important causes of morbidity and disability in patients with varicose venous disease (see also Complications).

Without correction of the underlying cause, venous insufficiency is inexorably progressive. Subjective symptoms usually worsen over time.

In many patients, the skin eventually breaks down and nonhealing ulcers develop. A study by Abbade et al determined that longstanding and large ulcers and recurrences are the primary complications encountered by patients who have venous ulcers. [11] Risk factors for these complications include severe lipodermatosclerosis, a previous history of ulcers, and time since first ulcer episode of 2 years or longer.

Chronic nonhealing leg ulceration can be debilitating. Approximately 1 million Americans have an ulceration due to superficial venous disease, and approximately 100,000 are disabled because of their condition. Reflux need not be entirely eliminated for the ulceration to resolve. Ulcers will heal if the net volume and pressure of reflux are reduced below a threshold level. Tissue atrophy and staining are usually not reversible.


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