Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI is the pooling or collecting of blood in the veins present in the legs. These are the same veins that should ideally be the ones responsible for making sure that an individual’s blood gets pumped back into the heart and making sure that the said blood does not flow backward.
For patients with Chronic Venous Insufficiency, there is a failure in the control of the valves causing blood to actually flow backward resulting in pooling or the collecting of blood in the veins of the patient. Through long exposure to the symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI, patients may experience pain, changes in the skin of the patient’s legs and sometimes, even swelling. Other patients may also develop ulcers or open sores in their legs.
What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI
There are a number of possible causes for developing Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI. A blood clot that gets lodged in the veins of the patient’s legs also called a deep vein thrombosis, can affect how a vein valve functions effectively disrupting the process of the valved of regulating the flow of blood within an individual’s body. Patients who don’t exercise may also develop Chronic Venous insufficiency or CVI as individuals who do not regularly exercise may have more inefficient blood circulation within their bodies compared to individuals who regularly exercise. Standing or sitting for extended periods of time may also lead to Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI since the said stationary activity is similar to not getting enough exercise to get the blood coursing through the patient’s veins efficiently.
What are some of the Risk Factors for Developing Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI?
Certain risk factors have also been identified in the development of Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Patients who exhibit one or more of the following risk factors may be at greater risk of developing Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI:
- Patients who are over the age of fifty (50) are at a greater risk of developing Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI
- Those who are considered obese may develop Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI
- Evidence suggests that females have a higher risk factor in terms of developing CVI
- Patients who are prone to developing blood clots are at an increased risk of developing CVI
- Individuals who smoke are also at an increased risk for developing CVI
- Patients with a family history of Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI will be at an increased risk for developing Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI?
CVI may present itself to the patient through a number of different symptoms. These symptoms include itchiness, varicose or enlarged veins in the ankle and lower leg, leathery skin, and of course, pain. These symptoms may all lead to swelling and added pressure to the patient’s veins and may result in the bursting of capillaries in the patient’s leg. This bursting of capillaries can lead to sore skin and skin ulcers which may also get infected and cause other complications for the patient already suffering from CVI.
How is Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI diagnosed?
All the symptoms mentioned above will be considered when being diagnosed by a doctor or health care professional for CVI. However, other tests and medical procedures need to be conducted to ensure the exact diagnosis of CVI. This includes a thorough medical examination checking for the physical symptoms or manifestations of CVI. The doctor or healthcare professional will then look at the patient’s medical history.
The patient’s medical history will also give the doctor an overview of the patient’s risk factor in developing CVI based on his or her family’s tendency to develop the said ailment. The doctor or health care professional will then perform a duplex or vascular ultrasound to check and see how efficient and how well blood flows in the patient’s veins. To rule out other possible causes of the swelling of the legs of the patient, doctors, and medical professionals may require an X-ray to be conducted on the patient.
How is Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI treated?
Treatment to be recommended by a patient’s doctor will be based on a number of variables and factors in connection with the patient. The doctor or medical professional will look at a patient’s symptoms, age, and family history. The ultimate goal for treating CVI, though, is to ensure that leg ulcers don’t develop, improve the flow of blood in the patient’s veins, and to enhance the patient’s quality of life. Some treatment options available to doctors and patients managing CVI are listed below:
Change in the patient’s lifestyle or habits
Doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes to the patient suffering from CVI. The patient may be advised to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time and to possibly consider wearing compression stockings or socks.
Doctors may prescribe certain medications to address the wounds brought about by sore skin or skin ulcers. Medicines that prevent blood clots or improve blood flow may also be prescribed by the patient’s doctor or healthcare professional.
Certain Medical Procedures
Patients with advanced stages of CVI may be recommended to undergo certain medical procedures that are nonsurgical in nature. This would include sclerotherapy where the doctor injects a solution to promote blood flow in the vein. Doctors may also recommend endovenous thermal ablation which uses a laser or strong radio waves to close and heat the clogged or improperly working vein.
Certain types of surgery
In worst-case scenarios, doctors may recommend that certain types of surgery be conducted on the patient. The doctor may recommend surgical procedures such as vein repair, ligation, transplant of the vein, and if possible, a vein bypass. However, these surgical procedures are only done on a small number of patients with CVI.