Last month, I met a patient with varicose eczema who really shocked me. She had suffered with this condition for 12 years and nothing had been done. Sadly, the condition is often misdiagnosed and neglected but this is not what shocked me in her case.
I first met Anne when she accompanied her daughter to my clinic. In fact it was her daughter who had an appointment to see me as she had varicose veins with phlebitis. During her daughter’s consultation, Anne who was in the waiting area started chatting with our clinic nurse and she commented that she had a rash near her ankle. She lifted her trouser leg and showed the rash to our nurse who instantly suspected varicose eczema. “No, it can be varicose eczema,” said Anne, “I had my veins stripped 30 years ago and any way, the veins haven’t come back”.
Fortunately, our nurse suggested that Anne book in for a scan just in case. Although there were no varicose veins to see on the surface, the duplex ultrasound scan showed that the superficial veins had indeed grown back and that Anne had severe superficial vein reflux putting her at risk of ulceration. I have now treated Anne by Endovenous laser and her reflux is cured. Her risk of leg ulceration is reduced.
The shocking features of this case history are that Anne is a nurse who has treated people with leg ulcers and she wasn’t given the correct advice. The fact that she had had surgical stripping in the past and that there were no surface varicose veins falsely reassured her that there couldn’t be anything wrong with her veins. We now know that reflux recurrence after surgical stripping is actually quite common and the only way to check is to have a duplex ultrasound scan.
If you have a rash around or near your ankle, suspect varicose eczema and be alert to the risk of leg ulceration. Request a duplex ultrasound scan.
Now, if you’re worried about your veins and would like a confidential chat please do get in touch. Our advisors are very happy to offer simple advice by telephone or email for free and without obligation. You can call and book an appointment direct without a referral from your GP on 01935 873951.