Clinical presentation and venous severity scoring of patients with extended deep axial venous reflux

Jean Luc Gillet, Michel R Perrin, François André Allaert
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2006, 44 (3): 588-94

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and profile of patients presenting with chronic venous insufficiency (class C3-C6) and cascading deep venous reflux involving femoral, popliteal, and crural veins to the ankle.

METHODS: From September 2001 to April 2004, 2,894 patients were referred to our center for possible venous disorders. The superficial, deep, and perforator veins of both legs were investigated with color duplex scanning. The criterion for inclusion in this study was the existence of cascading deep venous reflux involving the femoral, popliteal, and crural veins to the ankle whose duration had to be longer than 1 second for the femoropopliteal vein and longer than 0.5 seconds for the crural vein. The advanced CEAP classification, the Venous Clinical Severity Score (VCSS), the Venous Segmental Disease Score (reflux; VSDS), and the Venous Disability Score (VDS) were used.

RESULTS: Seventy-one limbs in 60 patients were identified. Eleven limbs (15.5%) were classified as C3, 36 (50.7%) as C4, 21 (29.6%) as C5, and 3 (4.2%) as C6. A primary etiology was identified in 11 (15.5%) limbs, and a postthrombotic etiology was identified in 60 limbs (84.5%). In the latter group, all but four patients were aware that they had had a previous deep venous thrombosis. In addition to femoropopliteal and calf veins, reflux was present in the common femoral vein in 60 (84.5%), the deep femoral vein in 27 (38%), and the muscular calf veins in 62 (87.3%). Incompetent perforator veins were identified in 53 (74.6%) limbs. Fifty-one (71.8%) limbs had a combination of superficial venous insufficiency (AS(2), AS(2,3), AS(4), or their combination) previously treated or present. Of these, 11 had primary etiology alone, and 40 had a secondary etiology with or without primary disease. Means and 95% confidence intervals of the VCSS, VSDS, and VDS were 9.72 (8.91-10.53), 7.2 (6.97-7.42), and 1.08 (0.83-1.32), respectively. A significant increase in the VCSS and in the VSDS (P < .0001) paralleled the CEAP clinical class. The VDS was higher in the C3 and C6 classes but did not reach significance. There was a significant link between the pain magnitude in the VCSS and the VDS (P < .0001). Severity of pain and high VDS did not depend on the wearing of elastic compression stockings. VCSS increased significantly according to the presence of an incompetent perforator vein (P < .05) and/or reflux in the deep femoral vein (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed the value of the Venous Severity Score as an instrument for evaluation of chronic venous insufficiency. A significant increase in the VCSS and VSDS paralleled CEAP clinical class; VDS was higher in classes C3 and C6 without reaching significance, probably because of the small size of the samples. Some clinical and anatomic features need to be clarified to facilitate scoring.

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