Symptoms in individuals with small cutaneous veins.Vasc Med. 2002 Feb; 7(1):13-7.VM
The clinical relevance of small cutaneous veins (SCV) is still being discussed. In the Duesseldorf/Essen civil servants study, the prevalence of SCV and the individual symptoms and age-dependent changes were analysed. This cross-sectional study recruited 9935 employees; 9100 could be finally evaluated for this analysis. All volunteers were asked to fill out the questionnaire and were clinically examined. Primarily the clinical findings were documented, adapted to the Basel Study and later modified according to the CEAP classification: (a) class 0 - no visible or palpable clinical signs of venous disease, (b) class 1 - small cutaneous veins, (c) class 1 - reticular veins, (d) class 2 - varicose veins. In all, 64% of the volunteers had no signs of venous disease (class 0: age 41+/-10 years); 10% had small cutaneous veins (class 1: age 44+/-10 years). SCV was more frequent in females (25%) than in males (6%). Only 5% of those with SCV had already consulted a physician. A striking result was that individuals with SCV generally complained about more leg symptoms, of which 'leg swelling' and 'muscle cramps during the night' were the most frequent. 'Continual leg swelling' was reported by 24% of individuals with SCV as opposed to 10% of those without. 'Leg cramps' and 'restless legs' also were more often documented in individuals with SCV (29% vs 22% and 10% vs 7%). These findings were all statistically significant (p<0.001). After adjusting for age and sex, though, there were few or no differences between groups (leg swelling: odds ratio (OR) 1.3; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.1-1.6 and cramps: OR 1.1; 95% CI 0.9-1.3). A gender separate estimation of the rates showed that females suffer more often from any symptom. Regarding 'leg cramps', 'restless legs' and 'itching', the OR were not different for females and males. For 'leg swelling' the age-adjusted OR were significant for women (OR 1.4; 95% Cl 1.1-1.7) compared with men (OR 1.1; 95% Cl 0.7-2). Individuals with SCV seem to have more symptoms compared with healthy people. However, this analysis shows that age and sex are the most relevant explanations for these symptoms.