Clinical and hemodynamic significance of corona phlebectatica in chronic venous disorders

Jean-François Uhl, André Cornu-Thénard, Patrick H Carpentier, Marie-Thérèse Widmer, Hugo Partsch, Pier Luigi Antignani
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2005, 42 (6): 1163-8

BACKGROUND: Corona phlebectatica (corona) is a clinical sign associated with chronic venous disorders but is not yet included in the CEAP classification. Our aim was to analyze the clinical and hemodynamic correlations of corona to determine its significance and potential usefulness in classification grading and systems such as the CEAP classification.

METHODS: A full clinical and duplex ultrasound record of 287 patients was collected by 60 vascular physicians from 10 European countries. They used the same computer software. This was designed to improve the interobserver consistency of computer-assisted procedures for clinical data gathering. Corona was defined as fan-shaped intradermal telangiectases in the medial and sometimes lateral portions of the ankle and foot. This definition was further refined into three severity grades of light, moderate, and severe, according to reference pictures provided by the software. To avoid overpowering the statistical tests, only data from right lower limbs were analyzed.

RESULTS: In this series of 287 unselected patients, a corona was detected in 96 right lower limbs (27.7%) and graded as light in 61 (21.1%), moderate in 24 (8.3%), and severe in 11 (3.8%). The presence of a corona and its severity grade were found significantly related to two risk factors of chronic venous disorders (age and personal history of deep vein thrombosis), the presence of so-called venous symptoms, including pain, pruritus, burning sensation, feeling of swelling, cramps, heavy legs; and most individual items of CEAP clinical classes (varicose veins, edema, all skin changes, C5; and open ulcers, C6). Furthermore, among the patients without skin changes (classes C1 to C3), the presence and grade of corona appeared to be significantly associated with the severity of the disease, with increasing CEAP (P < .05), disability (P < .03), and anatomic (P < .01) scores. The presence of a corona and its severity grade were also found significantly related to the CEAP clinical classes themselves (P < .001), the CEAP disability (P < .001) and clinical severity scores (P < .001), and the presence of superficial reflux in the saphenous and nonsaphenous territories (P = .05) and in the perforators (P < .001). The presence of a deep venous reflux was not found to be significant in this series. The relative risk of finding incompetent leg or calf perforators by duplex ultrasound is 4.4 times greater in patients with corona (P < .001). A comparison between the CEAP classification without corona and a modified classification including corona in C3 shows a better reliability coefficient of Cronbach.

CONCLUSION: Corona strongly correlates with the clinical severity and hemodynamic disturbances of the disease. The inclusion of corona in the C3 class should probably improve the reliability of the CEAP clinical classes.

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