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Worse Than We Thought – Latest Research on Reflux and Vein Complications

Doctors have known for a long time that the presence of varicose veins is associated with an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis. The underlying cause of varicose veins is superficial venous reflux. However, a substantial proportion of people with reflux do not have varicose veins and they only develop them later in life. Until now, there was no evidence that superficial reflux is associated with an increased risk of DVT. Well research just published changes all that. 

A careful study from Ohio published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, Venous and Lymphatic Disorders* looked at patients with deep vein thrombosis. A full duplex scan was performed to confirm the diagnosis of DVT as well as to examine the superficial venous reflux. The results were shocking. DVT patients were 4.7 times more likely to have superficial venous reflux due to valve failure than expected. This means that superficial venous reflux even – without varicose veins – is an important risk factor for DVT.

In addition, people with reflux who do have a DVT are probably more likely to develop complications such as varicose eczema and leg ulcers.  This new research adds to the growing medical literature confirming the superficial venous reflux and varicose veins are not simply cosmetic. They are risk factors for deep vein thrombosis, varicose eczema and leg ulceration.

Even if you do not have varicose veins, if you have significant ache or swelling of your leg, you may have reflux and this puts you at risk of a DVT. A diagnostic duplex ultrasound scan of your deep veins and superficial veins will resolve the issue.

*Ref:  Maxim E. Shaydakov, MD, PhD, Anthony J. Comerota, MD, FACC, FACS, and Fedor Lurie, MD, PhD,Toledo, Ohio J Vasc Surg: Venous and Lym Dis 2016;4:161-6.

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.