Pelvic vein reflux in female patients with varicose veins: comparison of incidence between a specialist private vein clinic and the vascular department of a National Health Service District General Hospital

Phlebology. 2009 Jun;24(3):108-13. doi: 10.1258/phleb.2008.008041.


Objectives: Mounting evidence suggests that pelvic vein reflux is an important contributing factor to recurrent varicose veins. We compared the incidence in our specialist private unit (Unit A) with that of a District General Hospital (Unit B).

Methods: Results of all female patient lower limb duplex ultrasound (LLDUS) and transvaginal pelvic ultrasound (TVUS) scans performed over a one-year period were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with refluxing veins emanating from the abdomen or pelvis on LLDUS (non-saphenous reflux) routinely proceeded to TVUS in Unit A.

Results: In Unit A, non-saphenous reflux on LLDUS was present in 90-462 female patients (19.5%). In 81.1% of these, TVUS confirmed reflux in truncal pelvic veins (incidence 15.8%). In Unit B, non-saphenous reflux was present in 60-279 female patients (21.5%).

Conclusion: One in five women presenting with varicose veins have reflux of non-saphenous origin. This is the case in specialist and non-specialist units. One in six has associated pelvic vein reflux.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / blood supply
  • Female
  • Hospitals, District / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pelvis / blood supply*
  • Private Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • State Medicine
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Varicose Veins / epidemiology*
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Insufficiency / epidemiology*