High prevalence of chronic venous disease in hospital employees

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2003 Sep 15;115(15-16):575-9. doi: 10.1007/BF03040451.


Objectives: Chronic venous disease (CVD), which comprises primary/idiopathic abnormalities of the venous system, and secondary sequels after deep venous thrombosis are major health issues in Western countries. The present study was conducted to prove the hypothesis that the development of CVD might be triggered by exogenous, occupational risk factors.

Methods: We determined the prevalence and social relationship of CVD in a wide cross-section of hospital employees (n = 209; medical doctors and nurses, medical technician assistants, secretaries, scientific staff, cleaners and utility workers) without predocumented CVD. Prevalence, known endogenous risk factors for CVD and occupational and environmental risk factors (family history of venous disease, history of deep venous thrombosis, current oral contraceptive therapy, obesity, regular participation in sports or frequent use of saunas or sun-baths, and long periods of standing during work) were investigated. The restriction in quality of life due to symptoms of CVD was also evaluated. CVD was classified according to the CEAP criteria.

Results: CVD was present in a total of 70 employees (34%), predominantly in women. Standing at work was a predisposing factor. We found the highest prevalence of CVD in utility workers and cleaners and the lowest prevalence in medical technician assistants, secretaries and scientific staff.

Conclusion: The study demonstrated that within a representative cross-section of hospital employees in a University hospital the prevalence of CVD was highest in women, especially in those working in a standing position or under conditions of high temperature and humidity. The results warrant regular evaluation of risk factors with subsequent primary prophylaxis of CVD.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Heliotherapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupations
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sports
  • Steam Bath
  • Varicose Veins / epidemiology
  • Venous Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Venous Insufficiency / genetics


  • Contraceptives, Oral