Very common condition that affects up to 40% of the population, but not all varicose veins are symptomatic.
Clinical presentation includes lower extremity pain, fatigue, itching and/or heaviness, which often worsen with prolonged standing, associated with dilated tortuous veins.
Varicose veins can lead to significant quality of life impairment in affected individuals.
Underlying venous insufficiency can be documented by duplex ultrasound.
Treatment options for symptomatic varicose veins include endovenous thermal ablation, foam sclerotherapy, and open surgery.
Compression hosiery should be reserved for those unsuitable for intervention, those who are unfit, and as long-term management for those with chronic venous diseases or healed ulceration.
Chronic venous skin changes, superficial venous thrombosis, venous ulceration, and bleeding are recognised complications.
Varicose veins are subcutaneous, permanently dilated veins 3 mm or more in diameter when measured in a standing position; however, they may not be visible.
History and exam
Key diagnostic factors
- presence of risk factors
- dilated tortuous veins
Other diagnostic factors
- leg fatigue or aching with prolonged standing
- leg cramps
- restless legs
- haemosiderin deposition
- corona phlebectatica
- ankle swelling
- bleeding from varices
- increasing age
- family history
- female sex
- increasing numbers of births
- deep vein thrombosis
- occupation with prolonged standing
1st investigations to order
- duplex ultrasound
symptomatic superficial vein insufficiency, no evidence of peripheral vascular disease or superficial axial truncal insufficiency: tributary insufficiency only
symptomatic superficial vein insufficiency, no evidence of peripheral vascular disease or superficial tributary insufficiency: truncal axial insufficiency only
symptomatic superficial vein insufficiency, no evidence of peripheral vascular disease: truncal axial and tributary insufficiency
symptomatic superficial vein insufficiency, no evidence of peripheral vascular disease: perforator veins with reflux located near healed or active venous ulcers
deep vein insufficiency without superficial truncal vein insufficiency but with superficial tributary insufficiency
deep vein insufficiency with superficial truncal vein insufficiency
deep vein insufficiency without superficial vein insufficiency
deep vein obstruction
- Reticular veins
- Management of venous leg ulcers
- The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases
Varicose veins: what are they?
Varicose veins: surgery to remove varicose veinsMore Patient leaflets
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