Severity of chronic venous disorders and its relationship to the calf muscle pump

M Panny, K Ammer, M Kundi, R Katzenschlager, M Hirschl
VASA. Zeitschrift Für Gefässkrankheiten 2009, 38 (2): 171-6

BACKGROUND: To investigate the relationship between the calf muscle pump and the clinical severity of chronic venous disorders (CVD) and of venous function parameters.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 84 limbs in 44 patients underwent duplex scan and digital photoplethysmography (DPPG), the range of ankle movement was measured by digital goniometry and strength of calf muscles was determined by dynamometry. Limbs were allocated on the basis of clinical signs of CVD (according to the CEAP classification) into 4 groups: controls (no signs and symptoms of CVD): 34 limbs, C1/2: 24 limbs, C3/4: 16 limbs, C6: 10 limbs.

RESULTS: A higher degree in clinical severity of CVD was related to shorter venous refilltime (VRT) and lower venous pump power (VPP) measured by DPPG. The strength of dorsiflexion was significantly reduced in group C6 compared to controls. There was a positive correlation between measurements of DPPG and the strength of dorsiflexion and also with total strength (p < 0.05). In limbs with pathological reflux (> 1 s) the strength of dorsiflexion, range of ankle plantarflexion movement and total range of ankle movement were significantly reduced compared to those without pathological reflux (p < 0,05). Strength of plantarflexion was significantly reduced in group C1/2 compared to control group (p < 0,05).

CONCLUSIONS: Strength of dorsiflexion seems to be the main driving factor of normal venous flow and range of ankle movement is impaired in patients with pathological venous reflux. Further prospective studies should clarify if additional strengthening of ankle dorsiflexors should be included in well established venous training programs.

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