Update of the SFMV (French society of vascular medicine) guidelines on the conditions and safety measures necessary for thermal ablation of the saphenous veins and proposals for unresolved issues.J Med Vasc. 2020 May; 45(3):130-146.JM
Venous insufficiency is a very common disease affecting about 25% of the French population (if we combine all stages of its progression). It is a complex disease and its aetiology has not yet been fully elucidated. Some of its causes are well known, such as valvular dysfunction, vein wall defect, and the suctioning effect common to all varicose veins. These factors are generally associated and together lead to dysfunction of one or more of the saphenous veins. Saphenous vein dysfunction is revealed by ultrasound scan, a reflux lasting more than 0.5 seconds indicating venous incompetence. The potential consequences of saphenous vein dysfunction over time include: symptoms (heaviness, swellings, restlessness, cramps, itching of the lower limbs), acute complications (superficial venous thrombosis, varicose bleeding), chronic complications (changes in skin texture and colour, stasis dermatitis, eczema, vein atresia, leg ulcer), and appearance of unaesthetic varicose veins. It is not possible to repair an incompetent saphenous vein. The only therapeutic options at present are ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, physical removal of the vein (saphenous stripping), or its thermal ablation (by laser or radiofrequency treatment), the latter strategy having now become the gold standard as recommended by international guidelines. Recommendations concerning thermal ablation of saphenous veins were published in 2014 by the Société française de médecine vasculaire. Our society has now decided to update these recommendations, taking this opportunity to discuss unresolved issues and issues not addressed in the original guidelines. Thermal ablation of an incompetent saphenous vein consists in destroying this by means of a heating element introduced via ultrasound-guided venous puncture. The heating element comprises either a laser fibre or a radiofrequency catheter. The practitioner must provide the patient with full information about the procedure and obtain his/her consent prior to its implementation. The checklist concerning the interventional procedure issued by the HAS should be validated for each patient (see the appended document).