Aim: This study evaluated long-term characteristics of chronic venous disease (CVD) progression and its correlation with the modification of specific risk factors.
Methods: The contralateral limb of 73 patients (95% women; mean age, 48 +/- 12 years) undergoing varicose vein surgery was prospectively evaluated using physical and color duplex examination and classified by CEAP. After 5 years of follow-up, development of new sites of reflux among the contralateral, preoperatively asymptomatic limbs and modification of predisposing factors, including prolonged orthostatism, obesity, estrogen therapy (ET), multiparity, and elastic stockings use (ESU), were assessed. Data were analyzed with Pearson chi(2), t test, binary logistic regression, and Spearman rho.
Results: Forty-eight new sites of reflux (superficial system, 37; perforators, 5; deep veins, 6) were revealed in 38 limbs (52%). CEAP scores significantly deteriorated: clinical, 2.2 +/- 0.5 from 0.1 +/- 0.03 (P < .01); anatomic, 3.8 +/- 1.2 from 2.6 +/- 2.5 (P < .05); disability, 1.9 +/- 0.7 from 0 (P < .01); and severity, 7.9 +/- 2.4 from 2.7 +/- 2.2 (P < .01). Patient compliance to predisposing factor modification was low; no change was observed during follow-up (orthostatism, P = .9; obesity, P = 0.7; ET, P = .9; multiparity, P = .4; ESU, P = .3). CVD progression was significantly lower in patients who controlled orthostatism vs those who maintained orthostatism or initiated it (P < .001) and in patients who controlled preoperative obesity vs those who became obese or maintained obesity (P < .001). Non-ESU patients had a significantly higher incidence of CVD progression vs those who started ESU or continued during the study (P < .001). By binary logistic regression analysis, orthostatism (P = .002; B coefficient value [BCV] = 1.745), obesity (P = .009; BCV = 1.602), and ESU (P = .037; BCV = 0.947) were independent predictive factors for CVD progression, whereas multiparity (P = .174) and ET (P = .429) were not.
Conclusions: In about half of patients with unilateral varicosities, CVD developed in the contralateral initially asymptomatic limb in 5 years. CVD progression consisted of reflux development and clinical deterioration of the affected limbs. Obesity, orthostatism, and noncompliance with ESU were independent risk factors for CVD progression, but ET and multiparity were not. Maintenance of a normal body weight, limitation of prolonged orthostatism, and systematic ESU may be recommended in patients with CVD to limit future disease progression.