Objectives: When compared to compression therapy alone, surgical correction of superficial venous reflux (SVR) reduces recurrence but does not appear to increase healing of chronic venous ulceration (CVU). The role of ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) of SVR as part of the treatment of CVU remains uncertain. The aim of this study is to describe CVU healing and recurrence rates after UGFS and to relate these outcomes to patterns of pre- and post-intervention venous reflux.
Methods: A prospective study of 27 consecutive patients (28 legs) of median age 69 (interquartile range 54-79) years undergoing UGFS for SVR in addition to compression for treatment of CVU of median duration 12 (IQR 6-23) months. Prior to and 1, 6, and 12 months after treatment patients underwent clinical and duplex assessment.
Results: 8 limbs (29%) had deep and superficial venous reflux, and 20 limbs had SVR alone. There was a history of DVT in 4 limbs, and 4 patients were on warfarin. No limbs had significant arterial disease and all received post-UGFS compression. Median volume of (3% STD) foam used was 8 (range 2-14) ml. 1, 3 and 6 months after UGFS, 22 (79%), 27 (96%) and 27 (96%) CVU had healed. At 12 months, 25 ulcers remained healed, 2 ulcers had recurred; one patient had died from carcinomatosis.
Discussion: Following UGFS as an adjunct to compression, 96% of CVU healed within 3 months and only 2 healed ulcers (7%) had recurred at 12 months. UGFS appears to be an attractive minimally-invasive alternative to surgery to treat SVR in patients with CVU, especially the elderly and frail.