Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) affects as many as 40% of adults in the United States and is especially common among women. The expert team at American Vascular Specialists in Mesa, Arizona, uses the most advanced technology to diagnose and treat CVI. If you think you may have chronic venous insufficiency, call or book an appointment online today.

Venous Insufficiency Q & A

What is chronic venous insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a common vascular disease that happens when the veins in your legs stop working as they should. This makes it difficult for blood to return to your heart, causing it to pool in your legs, instead. 

What are the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency?

Without treatment, CVI can lead to painful and disabling symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling in the legs or ankles (edema)
  • Throbbing, aching, or cramping in the legs
  • Feelings of heaviness in the legs
  • Leg ulcers, or wounds that won’t heal
  • Skin discoloration
  • Leg weakness
  • Varicose veins

Leg pain from CVI may worsen when you stand and get better when you elevate your legs. 

What causes chronic venous insufficiency?

Veins move blood back to your heart from other organs in your body. The veins in your legs must fight gravity to push blood back to your heart. Muscle contractions in your leg muscles help push blood upward, and small valves in your veins prevent blood from flowing back down. 

When these valves become damaged and stop working effectively, you have venous insufficiency. Valve damage allows blood to leak backward into your legs and pool there. 

The most common cause of CVI is a blood clot in the deep veins of your legs, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). As many as 30% of people with DVT develop CVI within 10 years.

How is chronic venous insufficiency diagnosed and treated?

First, your American Vascular Specialists provider reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam. They may also take diagnostic imaging tests, such as a vascular ultrasound.

Then, the team at American Vascular Specialists develops a personalized treatment plan for your particular needs. CVI treatment usually begins with lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Elevating your legs whenever possible
  • Wearing compression stockings

If the affected veins are superficial, the team at American Vascular Specialists may treat them with radiofrequency ablation or an injection (sclerotherapy) to destroy the vein. When CVI affects deep veins, minimally invasive procedures, such as angioplasty or stenting, may be necessary. CVI rarely requires open surgery, such as a bypass. 

CVI is easiest to treat in its early stages. Call American Vascular Specialists or book an appointment online today.