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J Vasc Surg. 1991 Jun;13(6):805-11; discussion 811-2.

Distribution of valvular incompetence in patients with venous stasis ulceration.

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Division of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118.


Valvular incompetence associated with venous ulceration can occur in the superficial, deep, or perforating systems. Duplex imaging was used to evaluate 95 extremities (78 patients) with current venous ulceration to determine the location of incompetence in each extremity. In addition, in 91 of the 95 extremities the area of the venous ulcer was evaluated for the presence of perforating veins or any other superficial veins or both conditions. Sixty-three (66.3%) of the 95 extremities had multisystem incompetence (superficial and perforating plus superficial and deep plus perforating and deep plus superficial and perforating and deep), whereas single system incompetence (superficial plus perforating plus deep) was seen in only 26 (27.3%). Isolated deep incompetence was identified in only two extremities (2.1%). Furthermore, 45% (41/91) of the ulcers had no duplex evidence of any venous abnormality in the ulcer bed. These data show that the site of valvular incompetence occurred in multiple locations, that isolated valvular incompetence of the deep venous system was uncommon, and that perforating veins were not always in the ulcer bed itself. Because standard venous surgery has traditionally been directed toward only one system, this may provide one explanation for ulcer recurrence. Therefore complete venous evaluation with duplex imaging allowing for surgical intervention directed specifically to the sites of involvement in each system is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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