Chronic venous insufficiency is caused by higher-than-normal blood pressure within the leg veins. This may be due to blood clots or phlebitis (swelling and inflammation of the veins). Blood clots in the legs (called deep vein thrombosis ) can damage the valves in the veins. When people get chronic venous insufficiency after a blood clot, it may be referred to as post-thrombotic syndrome. When it occurs after phlebitis, it may be referred to as postphlebitic syndrome.
Chronic venous insufficiency can be caused by blood clots, which can damage the valves in the veins.
Other causes of chronic venous insufficiency include:
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency include:
When blood pools in the legs, it puts pressure on the veins. Sometimes the blood leaks out into the tissues, discoloring and damaging the skin, and even causing skin ulcers. Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency can include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. If the diagnosis is not clear from the exam or you are considering surgery, you may also have the following tests:
Once the valves have been damaged, they usually cannot be repaired. Treatment is ongoing and is aimed at maintaining blood flow and preventing pooling of blood. Treatment involves the following:
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Last reviewed September 2009 by David N. Smith, MD
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