Progressive multiple sclerosis is not associated with chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency

Neurology. 2011 Aug 30;77(9):844-50. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31822c6208. Epub 2011 Aug 17.


Objective: Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) had been suggested to play a major pathogenetic role in multiple sclerosis (MS), but recent data on early stages of MS have not confirmed this theory. Nonetheless, CCSVI could represent a late phenomenon of MS or be associated with progression of disability. Thus, we studied CCSVI prevalence in primary progressive (PP) and secondary progressive (SP) MS, to clarify whether CCSVI characterizes the progressive forms of this disease.

Methods: A total of 35 patients with SPMS, 25 patients with PPMS, and 60 age- and gender-matched normal controls (NC) were enrolled into a cross-sectional study. Extracranial and transcranial high-resolution venous echo color Doppler sonography (ECDS-TCDS) was performed in all patients and NC. Those patients having any abnormal ultrasound finding were asked to undergo selective venography (VGF).

Results: Patients with PPMS (11 women, 14 men; mean age 47 ± 11 years) had a disease duration of 11 ± 7 years and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 6.0 ± 0.5. Patients with SPMS (22 women, 13 men; mean age 45 ± 14.5 years) had a disease duration of 18 ± 14 years and EDSS score of 6.0 ± 0.8. TCDS was normal in all patients. ECDS showed one or more abnormal findings in 9/60 (15.0%) patients (7/35 [20.0%] SPMS, 2/25 [8.0%] PPMS) and in 14/60 (23.3%) NC (p not significant for all comparisons). CCSVI criteria were fulfilled in 0 NC and 4 (6.7%) patients with MS: 3 SPMS and 1 PPMS. VGF, performed in 6/9 patients, was abnormal only in one case who had bilateral internal jugular vein stenosis.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that CCSVI is not a late secondary phenomenon of MS and is not associated with disability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation* / physiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / etiology
  • Spinal Cord / blood supply*
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial / methods
  • Venous Insufficiency / complications
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging*