Oestradiol levels in varicose vein blood of patients with and without pelvic vein incompetence (PVI): diagnostic implications.Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2010 Jul; 40(1):117-21.EJ
To assess the difference in the oestradiol levels of blood taken from varicose veins in patients with and without pelvic vein incompetence (PVI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Women of child-bearing age with symptomatic primary or recurrent varicose veins of the great saphenous vein (GSV) were included in a prospective study. Patients underwent duplex ultrasonography and pelvic vein phlebography. They were divided into a group with PVI (PVI group) and a control group with GSV reflux alone (VV group). Blood samples were collected from the GSV at the sapheno-femoral junction or lower in the thigh as well as from the arm. Oestradiol levels were determined by electroluminescence.
Between January and December 2007, 40 women were studied, of which 19 showed phlebographic evidence of PVI (PVI group), while 21 were included in the VV group. Phlebography revealed an incompetent ovarian vein in 14 (74%) patients of the PVI group, dilated uterine and ovarian plexuses in 12 (63%) and an incompetent internal iliac vein in six cases (32%). In the PVI group, the median oestradiol level in GSV samples was 121 pgml(-1) (range: 12-4300), while in the VV group the median level was 75 pgml(-1) (range: 9-1177). In the upper limb, the PVI group patients had a median level of 78 pgml(-1) (range: 15-121) and the VV group patients 68 pgml(-1) (range: 13-568). The ratio of lower limb/upper extremity was significantly higher (p<0.002) in patients of PVI group (median: 1.9; range: 0.7-33) than in those of the VV group (median: 1.1; range: 0.8-13). A threshold ratio of 1.4 showed the highest combined sensitivity and specificity in differentiating patients with PVI from those without.
In patients with varicose veins arising from the GSV, oestradiol levels were significantly higher in the lower limb than in the upper extremity in the subgroup with associated PVI. It may be possible to use this observation as a diagnostic test in patients with suspected PVI. This deserves further study.