chronic venous insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency or CVI is a medical condition where the veins cannot pump enough blood back to the heart. The commonest cause of CVI is superficial venous reflux which is a treatable condition.As functional venous valves are required to provide for efficient blood return from the lower extremities, this condition typically affects the legs. If the impaired vein function causes significant symptoms, such as edema and ulceration, it is referred to as chronic venous disease. It is important to realise that CVI includes varicose veins and superficial venous reflux (“hidden varicose veins”) which can now be treated by local anaesthetic endovenous surgery. It used to be thought that women were more affected than men, although research has now shown that men and women are affected equally. The condition has been known since ancient times and Hippocrates used bandaging to treat it. However nowadays, most patients with CVI can be cured with treatments to the superficial venous system or stenting the deep system. It is sometimes described as chronic peripheral venous insufficiency but it should not be confused with Post-thrombotic syndrome in which the deep veins have been damaged by previous deep vein thrombosis.