Venous intima-media thickness increases both in deep and superficial systems in patients with great saphenous vein reflux

Bissacco, D.; Oberto, S.; Kontothanassis, D.; Caggiati, A.

Journal of Vascular Surgery. Venous and Lymphatic Disorders 7(6): 832-838


ISSN/ISBN: 2213-3348
PMID: 31495763
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2019.07.005
Accession: 069316343

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To evaluate by Doppler ultrasound (DUS) the venous intima-media thickness (vIMT) in patients with or without great saphenous vein (GSV) incompetence. A prospective vIMT measurement was performed by DUS in an outpatient cohort. Patients were divided in two groups: group A, patients without GSV reflux; and group B, patients with at least one refluxing GSV. Group B was further divided in group B1, patients with monolateral refluxing GSV; and group B2, patients with bilateral GSV reflux. The vIMT was measured in the femoral vein (FV), 3 to 5 cm distal to the saphenofemoral junction (vIMT[FV]), and in the GSV, 3 to 5 cm from saphenofemoral junction (vIMT[R-] or vIMT[R+]) in the case of a nonrefluxing or a refluxing GSV, respectively. Only one limb per patient was considered for vIMT analysis: in group A, the limb with the greater vIMT(R-), in subgroup B1 the limb with a refluxing GSV, and in subgroup B2 the limb with the lower vIMT(R+). The primary outcome was the difference of vIMT of GSV between groups A and B. Secondary outcomes were differences in vIMT(FV) among groups and the correlation between vIMT of GSV and demographic or clinical parameters. A subgroup analysis of vIMT in GSV was conducted in B1 patients, describing vIMT variations in both limbs. Forty-four patients were enrolled. In the group A (26 patients), vIMT of the GSV was lower than in the group B (18 patients; 0.31 ± 0.01 mm vs 0.49 ± 0.02 mm; P < .001). The difference was significant also for vIMT(FV) (group A, 0.67 ± 0.02 mm vs group B, 0.77 ± 0.03 mm; P < .014). No statistical correlation between age, body mass index, family history, or use of elastic stockings and vIMT(FV) or vIMT(R+ or R-) was detected. Considering the whole population, vIMT of GSV was higher in patients with Clinical, Etiology, Anatomy and Pathophysiology (CEAP) class C of 2 or greater than in classes C 0 and 1 (0.43 ± 0.02 mm vs 0.32 ± 0.02 mm; P < .0002). The difference was significant also for vIMT(FV) in patients with class a class C of 2 or greater and C of 0 to 1 (0.77 ± 0.02 mm vs 0.64 ± 0.03 mm; P < .0008, respectively). In group B1, vIMT(R+) was higher than vIMT(R-) (0.50 ± 0.02 mm vs 0.32 ± 0.02 mm, respectively; P < .0001). The difference was not significant for vIMT(FV). vIMT seems to be an indirect marker of saphenous insufficiency. In GSV incompetence, an augmented wall thickening is visible in the FV as well. Further studies are needed to assess the accuracy of DUS measurements of vIMT. Longitudinal studies are also needed to evaluate possible GSV and FV vIMT variations related to disease progression or treatment.