Iliac-femoral venous stenting for lower extremity venous stasis symptoms

Saadi Alhalbouni, Anil Hingorani, Alexander Shiferson, Kapil Gopal, Daniel Jung, Danny Novak, Natalie Marks, Enrico Ascher
Annals of Vascular Surgery 2012, 26 (2): 185-9

BACKGROUND: Venous outflow obstruction may play a role in patients with chronic venous stasis symptoms who fail to improve despite conventional modalities of treatment that focus on the reflux component of the disease with little attention to the possibility of an obstructive component. The introduction of minimally invasive venous stenting using venography and intravenous ultrasonography (IVUS) provides the ability to treat the "obstructive" component of the disease.

METHODS: We undertook a retrospective review of 56 limbs in 53 patients with chronic venous stasis symptoms. Initial transcutaneous Doppler ultrasonographic evaluation of the inferior vena cava, iliac, femoral, greater saphenous, and perforator veins was performed looking for any evidence of deep venous thrombosis, superficial venous thrombosis, perforator veins, and reflux (location and degree). Afterword, the patients were managed in the conventional fashion (leg elevation, compression, and great saphenous vein (GSV) and perforator ablation, if present) for a period of 3 months. If ulcer healing was not noted, iliac-femoral venography and IVUS were undertaken. A significant stenosis was defined as a 50% reduction in vein cross-sectional area as measured by IVUS.(1,2,3) Stenotic lesions were managed with stenting followed by balloon angioplasty. Patients were followed up for ulcer healing or improvement of stasis symptoms.

RESULTS: Of the 56 limbs, 10 (17.8%) had postthrombotic changes, 7 (12.5%) had incompetent perforators, and 27 (48.2%) had an incompetent superficial venous system. In the stented group (n = 29), 3 limbs had perforator ablation alone, 13 limbs had GSV ablation alone, and 1 limb had both perforator and GSV ablation. In the unstented group (n = 27), 10 limbs had GSV ablation alone, and 3 limbs had both perforator and GSV ablation. The overall incidence of deep reflux was 51.8%; 17 of 29 limbs (58.6%) in the stented group had evidence of deep reflux, and 12 of 27 limbs (44.4%) in the unstented group had deep reflux. All venograms except one (98.2%) were performed under local anesthesia with sedation. The procedure was performed in an ambulatory setting in 69.6% (39 of 56) of the limbs. CEAP clinical severity class distribution was as follows: C2, 4%; C3, 16%; C4, 18%; C5, 5%; C6, 57%. Over half of the limbs (29 of 56) were found to have stenotic lesions and required stenting. Eight patients (11 limbs) did not return for ulcer healing assessment. The majority (19 of 29) of limbs in the stented group had a CEAP of 6. Among the patients with CEAP 6 who returned for follow-up (n = 26), 7 had no evidence of stenosis and required no stenting. Only one of those (14.3%) healed his ulcers after 3 months (average follow-up of 4.8 months). The remainder 19 limbs were found to have stenotic lesions and underwent stenting. The ulcers healed in 11 of those (58%) over a period of 1 week to 8 months (average of 5 months), with average follow-up of 3.6 months (p = 0.08). The cumulative primary and secondary patency rates were 93.1% (27 of 29) and 100% (29 of 29), respectively. Two stent thromboses occurred within 4 weeks of the initial procedure. Both occurred in patients with postthrombotic obstruction. One patient developed a superficial femoral artery pseudoaneurysm.

CONCLUSION: Over half of our patients with open ulcers had stenotic lesions. The ulcers healed in 58% of the stented limbs. That indicates that outflow obstruction may play a significant role in patients with chronic venous stasis symptoms, especially those with open ulcers who failed to respond to other treatment modalities. The procedure itself is relatively safe and simple and can be performed on an ambulatory basis.

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