The relationship between the number, competence, and diameter of medial calf perforating veins and the clinical status in healthy subjects and patients with lower-limb venous disease.J Vasc Surg 2000; 32(1):138-43JV
The role of medial calf perforating veins in the pathogenesis of the skin changes of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) remains controversial. This study examined the relationship between abnormal medial calf perforating vein structure and function and the clinical severity of CVI.
Duplex ultrasound was used as a means of determining the number, flow characteristics, and diameter of medial calf perforating veins, and the presence of deep and superficial main stem reflux or occlusion in 50 limbs with no clinical or duplex evidence of venous disease (clinical, etiological, anatomical, and pathological grade [CEAP] 0), 95 limbs with varicose veins only (CEAP 2/3), 58 limbs affected by lipodermatosclerosis but not ulcer (CEAP 4), and 108 limbs affected by healed or open venous ulcer (CEAP 5/6).
The proportion of limbs in which any perforating veins and incompetent perforating veins (IPVs) were demonstrated increased significantly with deteriorating clinical status (CEAP 0, 88% and 6%; CEAP 2/3, 95% and 52%; CEAP 4, 98% and 83%; and CEAP 5/6, 98% and 90%, respectively). The total number of perforators, the total number of IPVs, and the median diameters of perforators increased with deteriorating grade (CEAP 0 median diameter, 2 mm [interquartile range, 1 to 3 mm]; CEAP 2/3 median diameter, 3 mm [interquartile range, 2 to 4 mm]; CEAP 4 median diameter, 4 mm [interquartile range, 3 to 5 mm]; and CEAP 5/6 median diameter, 4 mm [interquartile range, 3 to 5 mm]).
The deteriorating CEAP grade of CVI is associated with an increase in the number and diameter of medial calf perforating veins, particularly those permitting bidirectional flow.