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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2015 Apr;49(4):432-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2014.12.031. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

Epidemiological study on chronic venous disease in Belgium and Luxembourg: prevalence, risk factors, and symptomatology.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, Sint-Andries Ziekenhuis Tielt, Belgium. Electronic address:
Department of Vascular Surgery, Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven, Belgium.
Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Mont-Godinne, Belgium.
Department of Vascular Surgery, CHR Haute Senne, Belgium.
Department of Vascular Surgery, CH Emile Mayrisch, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg.
Department of Vascular Surgery, UZ Brussels, Belgium.



This epidemiological study measured the prevalence of chronic venous disease (CVD) in Belgium and Luxembourg. Possible risk factors and the symptomatology were evaluated.


A survey was carried out in Belgium and Luxembourg between May and September 2013. Patient recruitment was carried out by 406 general practitioners (GPs). Each GP screened 10-20 consecutive patients older than 18 years, and in total 6009 patients were included. Patient characteristics, prevalence of risk factors, symptomatology, and C-classification were noted. The GPs diagnosed CVD and measured the need for treatment. Patients with diagnosed CVD completed a questionnaire about their history of leg problems and a quality of life score (CIVIQ-14). These data were converted into a CIVIQ Global Index Score (GIS).


The mean age of the patients was 53.4 years, and they were predominantly female (67.5%). Among the 3889 symptomatic patients, heavy legs, pain, and sensation of leg swelling were the most common complaints. Among the included patients, 61.3% of patients were classified within C1-C6; however, only 45.9% of these patients were considered by the GPs to be suffering CVD. Treatment was offered to 49.5% of patients. Age and female gender correlate with a higher C-class (p < .001). Patients with a higher C-class (C3-C6) have significantly more pain, sensation of swelling and burning, night cramps, itching, and the sensation of "pins and needles" in the legs. Patients taking regular exercise and without a family history had a lower C-class. Higher BMI, age, female gender, family history, history of thrombophlebitis, and a higher C-class correlated with a lower GIS (p < .001). Of the patients with CVD, 10.4% had lost days of work because of their venous leg problems.


CVD is a very common disease, which is underestimated. The prevalence increases with age, generates incapacity to work, and worsens the patients' quality of life.


Chronic venous disease; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Symptomatology

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