Which treatments are cost-effective in the management of varicose veins?

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In the current economic climate, the cost-effectiveness of health-care interventions is under great scrutiny. In this article, the evidence for cost-effectiveness of treatments for varicose veins is summarized. The majority of studies evaluating treatments for varicose veins have not assessed health economic outcomes, but have focused on clinical and anatomical measures. The cost-effectiveness of treating varicose veins (compared with conservative management) was demonstrated in the REACTIV trial. Other in-trial economic analyses suggested that endovenous interventions are likely to be cost-effective and a decision tree analysis demonstrated that the greatest cost-effectiveness may be present for procedures performed under local or tumescent anaesthesia in the office or outpatient setting. However, the treatment modality that offers the greatest cost-effectiveness remains unclear. In conclusion, endovenous treatment performed in the outpatient setting under local anaesthesia is likely to be the most cost-effective treatment strategy for varicose veins. Better quality health economic analyses are needed to refine this conclusion.

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