Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a medical condition, which is quite common, approximately 15 percent of the adult population will be affected sometime in life.  Risk factors for venous insufficiency include family history, obesity, pregnancy, prolonged standing, trauma, surgery, medications, and lifestyle.  It appears more frequently in people over 50 and more common in woman than men.

Healthy veins have valves that keep blood flowing to the heart.  Venous reflux disease develops when the valves stop working properly and allow blood to flow backwards (i.e., reflux) and pool in the lower leg veins.

Superficial venous reflux is the most common cause of venous disease or CVI.  Venous reflux occurs when incompetent or defective one-way vein valves fail to promote the normal return of blood to the heart against the pull of gravity.

Superficial venous reflux disease may cause the following signs and symptoms in your legs.

  • Varicose veins
  • Spider veins
  • Aching
  • Swelling
  • Cramping
  • Heaviness and tiredness
  • Itching
  • Restlessness
  • Open sores (venous stasis ulcers)
  • Venous pigmentation (hemosiderin staining on lower legs)