Should Body Mass Index Affect the Choice of Probe Frequency in the Clinical Assessment of Varicose Veins Using Hand-Held Doppler?

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The aim of this study was to determine whether an increased body mass index should influence the choice of continuous-wave Doppler probe frequency in the clinical assessment of patients with varicose veins.


Prospective assessment of the effect of raised body mass index on the accuracy of clinical assessment of venous reflux using 4 and 8 MHz Doppler probes compared with duplex scanning.


The ultrasound department of a university teaching hospital.


Seventy-two patients with symptomatic primary varicose veins (108 limbs), who had not undergone previous injection sclerotherapy or surgical treatment.

Main outcome measures:

Measurement of body mass index and assessment of reflux with hand-held Doppler using 4 and 8 MHz probes immediately followed by duplex scanning.


There was no significant difference between the 4 and 8 MHz Doppler probes in the accuracy of detection of reflux at the sapheno-femoral junction, in the long saphenous vein or at the sapheno-popliteal junction in the whole patient group or in the obese subgroup.


Body mass index should not influence the choice of probe frequency (between 4 and 8 MHz) in the clinical assessment of patients with primary previously untreated varicose veins.

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