Aim: Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a chronic disease, whose disability has not been appreciated clearly, and several treatment costs are not covered by Public Health Service, probably because its any social impact is not well known. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of CVI on quality of life (QoL), and to compare the sensitivity of more diffused instruments for QoL assessment.
Methods: One hundred and four patients with CVI received the Italian version of four QoL assessment instruments (MOS SF-36; CIVIQ-2; Euro-QoL 5D and a visual analogical scale). The poorest QoL was adjusted as 0, the best as 100. After filling the questionnaires, patients underwent a clinical and instrumental examination to assess the diagnosis according to the CEAP classification.
Results: The QoL is progressively impaired from CEAP class C1 to class C5-6. The SF-36 showed a normal QoL in patients of CEAP class C1 and C2. Class C3 showed a significant (P<0.0018) reduction of QoL (physical role and bodily pain), and the decline was more significant (P<0.0001) in class C4, involving all physical items and several mental ones. Class C5-6 showed very low scores of physical and social functioning, general health and vitality. Physical and emotional scores were better than C4 patients.
Conclusions: QoL is progressively impaired in CVI, involving primarily the physical items and the emotional role, with worsening of mental items only in advanced stages. This early involvement of physical items underlines how CVI is not an esthetic problem, but, a disease. Its impact on the lifestyle and QoL is similar to that of other chronic diseases (diabetes, cancer, chronic pulmonary disease), reaching in the class C5-6 the poorest level, similar to heart failure.