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Phlebology. 2011 Dec;26(8):361-5. doi: 10.1258/phleb.2010.010043. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

Evidence that venous hypertension causes stasis dermatitis.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


A clinical model to examine the hypothesis that venous hypertension of the lower leg per se can cause lower leg stasis dermatitis is described. To prove this concept, we retrospectively studied a consecutive series of 38 patients with lower leg dermatitis who underwent phlebological examination at our consultation over a period of four years. Among those patients who had an insufficiency of the superficial veins only, without insufficiency of the deep veins, 22 had undergone patch testing to common allergens in phlebology. We found 10 patients with a stasis dermatitis of the lower leg and an incompetent great saphenous vein, six of whom had no detectable contact sensitization at all and another four exclusively to phlebologically irrelevant substances, e.g. nickel, cobalt, chromate or epoxid resin. All these 10 patients showed long saphenous vein incompetence from the groin to the medial aspect of the leg. All were operated by classical flush ligation and saphenectomy. Lower leg dermatitis healed in all 10 patients within 8-12 weeks and no recurrence was observed (1 year follow-up). These results support clinical experience that venous hypertension alone indeed can cause lower leg dermatitis.

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