University of Oulu

Primary saphenous vein insufficiency : prospective studies on diagnostic duplex ultrasonography and treatment with endovenous radiofrequency-resistive heating

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Author: Rautio, Tero1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2002
Publish Date: 2002-07-07
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium 1 of the University Hospital of Oulu, on June 7th, 2002, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Tuija Ikonen
Docent Jari Laurikka


The purpose of the present research was (I–II) to evaluate the effects of clinical, hand-held Doppler (HHD) and duplex ultrasonographic examinations on the planning of operative procedure for primary varicose veins, (III) to assess the feasibility, safety and efficacy of endovenous saphenous vein obliteration with radiofrequency-resistive heating and (IV) to compare endovenous saphenous vein obliteration with conventional stripping operation in terms of short-term recovery and costs.

Sixty-two legs (in 49 consecutive patients) and 142 legs (in 111 consecutive patients) with primary uncomplicated varicose veins were examined clinically and with HHD and duplex ultrasonography for planning the subsequent treatment. At the saphenous-femoral junction (SFJ) and at the saphenous-popliteal junction (SPJ), sensitivity was 56–64% and 23%, specificity 93–97% and 96%, positive predictive value 97–98% and 43% and negative predictive value 44–45% and 91%, respectively. In 9% of the cases, the treatment plan was modified on the basis of the duplex ultrasound findings. The present study showed that, in primary uncomplicated varicose veins, the accuracy of HHD is unsatisfactory.

Thirty legs of 27 patients with varicose veins were treated using an endovenous catheter (Closure® System, VNUS Medical Technologies, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA), which was inserted under ultrasound guidance via a percutaneous puncture or a skin incision. The persistence of vein occlusion and complications potentially attributable to the endovenous treatment were assessed at 1-week, 6-week, 3-month, 6-month and 1-year follow-up visits. By the time of the last follow-up visit, occlusion of the treated segment of the LSV had been achieved in 22 (73.3%) legs. Persisting patency or recanalization of LSV was detected in 8 legs (26.7%). Postoperative complications included saphenous nerve paresthesia in 3 legs (10%) and thermal skin injury in one limb (3.3%).

Twenty-eight selected patients admitted for operative treatment of varicose veins in the tributaries of the primary long saphenous were randomly assigned to endovenous obliteration (n = 15) or stripping operation (n = 13). The patients were followed up for 7–8 weeks postoperatively and examined by duplex ultrasonography. The comparison of costs included both direct medical costs and costs due to lost of productivity. All operations were successful, and the complication rates were similar in the two groups. The sick leaves were significantly shorter in the endovenous obliteration group [6.5 (SD 3.3) vs. 15.6 (SD 6.0), 95 % CI 5.4 to 12.9, p < 0.001, t-test]. When the value of the lost working days was included, the endovenous obliteration was societally cost-saving.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-6723-0
ISBN Print: 951-42-6722-2
Issue: 680
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2002. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.