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Multiple Sclerosis and Narrowed Veins

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a frightening disorder with no identifiable cause. Many hypotheses that claimed to explain why the progressive neurological disorder develops have come and gone over the years.

The treatment of multiple sclerosis is only symptom-based and there is no cure for it but recently, there have been some alterative healthcare workers who insist that the disorder is caused by narrowing of veins in the head and neck area. There are even some doctors in Europe who offer surgery to open up these narrowed veins.

There are numerous anecdotal reports indicating that opening up these narrowed veins leads to an improvement in symptoms of MS. As to how this occurs and how long the symptom-free interval is sustained remains unknown.

The topic of narrowed veins and multiple sclerosis is of great debate and most conventional doctors do not believe that the vein theory has anything to do with MS.

Now, there is a study from Germany that shows that there is no causal relationship between the obstructed venous blood flow and MS.

The latest study by Dr Florian Doepp of Charite University Medicine Berlin is reported in the November 8 issue of Neurology.

Dr. Doepp enrolled 40 patients with multiple sclerosis who underwent MR venography to assess the narrowing of the veins in the neck and chest. The patients were graded based on the degree of venous narrowing. Images of the veins and blood flow were assessed with the patients in various positions. (1)

Essentially, the study showed that there was no causal relationship between the venous narrowing, venous blood flow and MS. Moreover, there were patients with MS who had no narrowing of veins. Based on this study, Dr. Doebb has made a plea to all physicians not to recommend patients for any type of intervention to open up narrowed veins in the neck.

For patients, a word of caution, there have been a number of deaths reported in patients who have undergone opening of their veins. At the moment this form of therapy remains unproven and experimental. (2)


1. Doepp F, et al "Venous drainage in multiple sclerosis: A combined MRI and ultrasound study"Neurology 2011; 77: 1745–1751.
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22031530

2. Marder E. No Cerebral or Cervical Venous Insufficiency in US Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis.
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21825217

Reviewed November 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Malu Banuelos

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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