How often is deep venous reflux eliminated after saphenous vein ablation?

Puggioni, A.; Lurie, F.; Kistner, R.L.; Eklof, B.

Journal of Vascular Surgery 38(3): 517-521


ISSN/ISBN: 0741-5214
PMID: 12947270
DOI: 10.1016/s0741-5214(03)00413-0
Accession: 012157472

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Background and Purpose: Deep venous reflux resolution after great saphenous vein surgery has been reported, but the studies evaluated mainly patients with deep segmental reflux. We prospectively analyzed the effects of greater saphenous vein ablation on coexisting primary deep axial venous reflux compared with segmental venous reflux. Patients and Methods: Between February 1997 and June 2001, patients with primary deep venous reflux scheduled for greater saphenous vein surgery were included in the study. Limbs of patients with a history of deep venous thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, trauma, and orthopedic or venous surgery were excluded. After surgery, duplex scanning was repeated and patients were examined for persistent deep venous reflux. Results: Thirty-three patients (38 limbs) were followed up with duplex scanning. Follow-up ranged from 2 weeks to 38 months. Preoperative axial deep reflux was present in 17 extremities, and segmental reflux was present in 21. The total number of incompetent segments was 59. Overall reflux abolishment rate was similar in extremities with axial and segmental reflux (30% vs 36%; P > .05). When segments were analyzed individually, abolishment of superficial femoral vein reflux was observed more often in extremities with segmental reflux than those with axial reflux (odds ratio, 4). In the extremities where deep reflux was not abolished with greater saphenous vein ablation, degree of reflux did not change significantly (P > .1). Duplex scanning was performed more than once during follow-up in 9 patients. In 3 of these patients reflux resolved by the second follow-up evaluation, and in 2 reflux was decreased at the second and third follow-up evaluations. Conclusion: In patients with concomitant deep and superficial venous reflux, saphenous vein ablation results in resolution of deep reflux in about a third of patients. Superficial femoral vein reflux is seldom corrected in limbs with axial reflux compared with those limbs with segmental reflux. To appreciate the effects of greater saphenous vein ablation, longer follow-up may be needed.