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Diagnosis / Chronic Venous Insufficiency / Non-Healing Leg or Foot Ulcers

An estimated 40% of people in the United States suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). It occurs more frequently in people over the age of 50, and more often in women than in men.

CVI is a condition that occurs when the venous wall and/or valves in the leg veins are not working effectively, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs. Chronic venous insufficiency causes blood to pool or collect in these veins, and this pooling is called stasis.

If left untreated, pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may result.

What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency is more common among those who are obese, pregnant, or who have a family history of CVI. People who have had trauma to the leg through injury, surgery, or previous blood clots are also more likely to develop the condition.

Other causes of chronic venous insufficiency include the following:

  • High blood pressure in the leg veins over a long time, due to sitting or standing for prolonged periods.
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the calf or thigh
  • Phlebitis – swelling and inflammation of a superficial vein, usually in the legs

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency may include:

  • Swelling in the legs and/or ankles
  • Tight feeling calves or itchy painful legs
  • Pain during walking that stops with rest
  • Brown-colored skin, particularly near the ankles
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg ulcers that are resistant to treatment

How is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your doctor will likely perform diagnostic testing to confirm chronic venous insufficiency.

  • Duplex ultrasound – vascular ultrasound procedure done to assess blood flow and structure of the leg veins.
  • Venogram – uses x-rays and intravenous (IV) contrast dye to visualize the veins. The contrast dye causes the blood vessels to appear opaque on the x-ray image, allowing the doctor to visualize the blood vessels begin evaluated.

IVC’s Treatment Options for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

At IVC, we offer several outpatient treatments for chronic venous insufficiency. Sclerotherapy, which is the injection of a chemical (sclerosant) into the vein; Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT), which is a minimally invasive laser treatment and; Ambulatory Phlebectomy, a procedure that removes superficial varicose veins through small incisions.

Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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