Patterns of reflux in the great saphenous vein system

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To report the patterns of reflux in the great saphenous vein as well as to investigate the correlations between patterns of reflux, the demographics and the clinical findings in the population studied.


A total of 1882 limbs were assessed by duplex ultrasound examination in 1449 patients (348 men and 1101 women). Ages ranged from 21 to 94 years (mean 51.8). The presence of symptoms of venous disease (aching, heaviness, night cramps, swelling, itching, burning, tingling and throbbing) and clinical signs were recorded.


Varicose veins without saphenous reflux occurred at a younger age (43 versus 55.6 years P < 0.05). The presence of incompetence at the saphenofemoral junction occurred in older patients (58.5 versus 54.1 years P < 0.05). Venous reflux to the ankle also occurred in older patients (mean 64.0 years P < 0.05). Saphenous vein reflux without clinical varices was associated with more advanced signs (C4–C6: 20.3% P < 0.05). A younger age was associated with less advanced signs (C0–C2:49.4 versus C4–C6: 60.1 years P < 0.05). Presence of symptoms was associated with advancing patient age (51.1 versus 49.1 years P < 0.05).


A significant correlation between the extent of great saphenous vein reflux and the patient age and the clinical stage of SVI has been observed in this study. The authors hypothesize that these findings support the concept of early treatment of venous insufficiency before symptomatic and physiological deterioration occurs.

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