Appraisal of the information content of the C classes of CEAP clinical classification of chronic venous disorders: a multicenter evaluation of 872 patients

Patrick H Carpentier, André Cornu-Thénard, Jean-François Uhl, Hugo Partsch, Pier Luigi Antignani, et al.
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2003, 37 (4): 827-33

OBJECTIVE: Clinical classifications attempt to summarize a large amount of information in a few indices. CEAP is the most comprehensive and widely used classification of chronic venous disorders. The objective was to evaluate, in a routine clinical setting, the information associated with each CEAP clinical class and their ascending severity and additivity.

METHODS: This work was a multicenter evaluation of newly designed software dedicated to the management of venous diseases. Forty-nine angiologists from nine European countries entered a total of 872 full records of unselected patients. The data were analyzed to evaluate the informational value of each of the clinical classes and to test their ascending severity and additivity, with monovariate and multivariate statistical techniques with SPSS/PC software on the database of the 872 right lower limbs.

RESULTS: The series consisted of 700 women (80.3%) and 172 men, aged 18 to 100 years (median, 53 years). The ascending severity of the classes was shown with the statistical association of higher severity C classes with the age of the patient, a history of previous deep vein thrombosis, the diameter class of the most dilated varicose vein, venous symptoms, and the presence of a corona phlebectatica. The additivity, as measured with the Cronbach alpha coefficient analysis, was satisfactory in highest classes but poorer within the first three classes, and factor analysis of correspondences showed the heterogeneity of the variables that make the classification.

CONCLUSION: The information summarized with the CEAP clinical classes shows a good ascending severity but a poorer additivity. These limitations seem to be related to the heterogeneity of the information content, which suggests some refinements of this basic tool for clinical research in the field of chronic venous disorders.

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