High prevalence of chronic venous disease among health care workers in the United States.J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2020 03; 8(2):224-230.JV
Health care workers spend extended times standing and walking short distances and are at risk for development of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). We conducted a hospital-wide venous screening program designed to measure the prevalence of and risk factors for clinical manifestations of CVI and ultrasound evidence of venous reflux or obstruction in health care workers. We also determined their risk for deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
Free venous screening and education were offered to all hospital employees; the program started in April 2016, and results are presented from the first year. Demographics, medical history, and use of compression stockings were recorded. A physical examination determined the clinical class of the Clinical, Etiology, Anatomy, and Pathophysiology (CEAP) classification for clinical disease, and an ultrasound test evaluated for reflux or obstruction in the common femoral vein, popliteal vein, and saphenofemoral junction. The Caprini score was recorded to evaluate risk of DVT. Descriptive statistics were reported, and logistic regression was used for multivariate analysis of risk factors.
We enrolled 636 participants (1272 legs); 93.0% were women. The median age was 42 years (interquartile range, 31-52 years), mean body mass index was 29.2 ± 6.6 kg/m2, and most participants were white (49.1%) or African American (39.5%); 18% reported having hypertension, 7.1% had diabetes, and 6.1% were current smokers. The majority reported occasional leg pain (72.7%) and evening leg swelling (42.3%). Only 2.7% used daily compression stockings. Clinical evidence of CVI was present in at least one leg in 69.1% (C1, 49.0%; C2, 17.7%; C3, 1.9%; C4, 0.2%; C5, 0.2%). Venous reflux was present in at least one leg in 82.1%; obstruction was rare (0.2%). Reflux in either the superficial (saphenofemoral junction) or the deep (femoral or popliteal) venous system was present in the majority (71.0%) of patients with CVI (clinical class ≥C1). Reflux and white race were risk factors for clinical disease; clinical disease, age, female sex, and white race were risk factors for reflux. On the basis of the Caprini score, 14.1% of participants were in the highest risk category for DVT when experiencing a high-risk situation (including 2.2% with history of DVT).
Prevalence of clinical CVI and venous reflux is high among health care workers despite a low frequency of cardiovascular comorbidities. Increased awareness about CVI and DVT and preventive strategies for venous disease must be instituted in this high-risk cohort.