The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate venous reflux in limbs with isolated superficial venous insufficiency using color duplex ultrasound. In addition, air plethysmography (APG) was used to investigate possible correlations of duplex-derived peak velocity, duration of reflux, and CEAP classification.
One hundred and forty-six legs in 109 patients with isolated superficial venous insufficiency refluxing throughout the length of the limb were selected for prospective study by duplex scan. Reflux was defined as duration of reflux >/=0. 5 seconds. This study was conducted in a university hospital. Venous reflux was evaluated with the patients standing, by the duration of reflux, retrograde peak velocity, reflux volume at the saphenofemoral and saphenopopliteal junction as well as the greater saphenous vein in the thigh. Values obtained by APG were the venous volume (VV), venous filling index (VFI), ejection fraction (EF), and residual venous fraction (RVF). A significant difference was defined as P <.05. Three groups of limbs were analyzed: group A limbs with a retrograde peak velocity greater than 30 cm/second and a duration of reflux of less than 3 seconds; group B with a retrograde peak velocity >/=30 cm/second and a duration of more than 3 seconds; and group C with a retrograde peak velocity of less than 30 cm/second and a duration of reflux of more than 3 seconds.
Groups A and B contained 103 limbs, and 24 of these were in CEAP class 5 and 6. Group C contained 43 limbs, none of which were in class 5 or 6. APG demonstrated significant reflux in group A, and VFI was significantly higher compared to group B and group C (P =.0007 and P =.0064, respectively). A significant correlation was demonstrated between peak retrograde reflux velocity and VFI.
Severe chronic venous insufficiency is found in limbs with high reflux velocity (greater than 30 cm/second) and the duration of reflux does not correlate with severe chronic insufficiency.