Relationship of venous reflux to the site of venous valvular incompetence: implications for venous reconstructive surgery
Gooley, N.A.; Sumner, D.S.
Journal of Vascular Surgery 7(1): 50-59
ISSN/ISBN: 0741-5214 PMID: 3275807 DOI: 10.1016/0741-5214(88)90378-3
To evaluate the relationship of the site of venous valvular incompetence to the severity of venous reflux, legs of 71 patients with suspected chronic venous insufficiency were evaluated with Doppler ultrasonography and photoplethysmography. A venous recovery time (VRT) of less than 20 seconds after calf muscle exercise was considered indicative of significant reflux. Average VRTs were brief in 15 legs with stasis changes (10 +/- 7 seconds), longer in 42 legs with edema (26 +/- 23 seconds), and normal in 64 asymptomatic legs (37 +/- 24 seconds) and 16 legs with pain (53 +/- 19 seconds). Average VRTs in limbs with incompetent saphenous veins were abnormal. In limbs with competent superficial veins, only those with incompetent distal deep veins (popliteal and posterior tibial) had abnormal VRTs (14 +/- 10 seconds). VRTs in limbs with no detectable valvular incompetence and in those with incompetence limited to the proximal deep veins (common and superficial femoral) were normal (47 +/- 23 and 42 +/- 27 seconds, respectively). When superficial veins were incompetent, an ankle tourniquet normalized VRTs in 63% of legs with proximal deep venous incompetence and in only 33% of legs with distal deep venous incompetence. It is concluded that venous reflux is largely determined by saphenous and distal deep valvular function and that competence of the proximal valves has little effect. Decreased venous reflux would not be expected after proximal valvular reconstruction.