Venous Clinical Severity Score and quality-of-life assessment tools: application to vein practice

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Abstract

The time is ripe for universal understanding and acceptance of outcome assessment in venous disease. Outcome studies promote understanding of the diseases we treat and the results of treatment. The choice of a valid and reliable assessment tool is crucial. Patient-generated quality-of-life tools include generic instruments and disease-specific instruments. Generic instruments evaluate overall well-being and provide subjective measurements of treatment outcomes in various disease states. The 36-Item Short Form Health Survey and the Nottingham Health Profile are widely used generic surveys. Disease-specific instruments relate to a particular disease state. They are popular in venous disease reporting and have high sensitivity. The Chronic Venous Insufficiency Questionnaire, the Venous Insufficiency Epidemiological and Economic Study, the Aberdeen Varicose Vein Questionnaire and the Charing Cross Venous Ulceration Questionnaire are such devices. Physician-generated measurement tools are used to evaluate and classify the consequences of venous disease. The clinical, aetiology, anatomy, pathophysiology classification (CEAP) is a popular descriptive platform for chronic venous disease. The Venous Severity Scoring (VSS) system was derived from the CEAP classification to provide evaluative capabilities. The three elements of the VSS are the venous disability score, the venous segmental disease score and the venous clinical severity score (VCSS). The VCSS facilitates the follow-up of features of venous disease that change with treatment. Each of these outcomes tools has been validated, and each has strengths and weaknesses. Maintaining the dynamic nature of assessment with periodic review and revision is the way forward to generating universal applicability. Although the choice of instrument is debatable, the most important factor in improving treatment outcomes is the decision to examine results and to share them in a meaningful way.

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