Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Reflux from thigh to calf, the major pathology in chronic venous ulcer disease: surgery indicated in the majority of patients.

The aim of this study was to define the underlying anatomical and pathophysiological conditions in limbs with venous ulcers in order to get information for the most appropriate treatment selection. Ninety-eight limbs (83 patients, 59 men), with active chronic venous ulcers, were analyzed retrospectively and classified according to the CEAP (clinical, etiological, anatomical, and pathophysiological) classification. Duplex-ultrasound was performed in all patients, while air-plethysmography and venography were performed selectively on potential candidates for deep venous reconstruction. Sixty-six ulcers were primary in origin and 32 were secondary. Reflux was present in all limbs except 1. Isolated reflux in 1 system (superficial = 3, deep = 4, perforator = 3) was seen in 10 legs (10%), while incompetence in all 3 systems was seen in 51 legs (52%). Superficial reflux with or without involvement of other systems was seen in 84 legs (86%), 72 legs (73%) had deep reflux with or without involvement of other systems, and incompetent perforator veins were identified in 79 limbs (81%). Axial reflux (continuous reverse flow from the groin region to below knee) was found in 77 limbs (79%). The femoral vein was the single most common deep venous segment in which either reflux or obstruction was found. Axial distribution of disease was found in the majority of cases and no patient had isolated deep venous incompetence below knee. Primary disease was the predominant etiologic cause and reflux was the main pathophysiological finding. Practically all patients were found to have 1 or more sites of reflux or obstruction that could benefit from operative treatment.

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