Rationale: It is estimated that some hundreds of Canadian patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have journeyed abroad to avail themselves of 'liberation therapy' (venoplasty) following the initial report by Zamboni et al in 2009. That study also led to public pressure upon Departments of Health in Canadian Provinces to fund the procedure. The present study was done in order to advise the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as to whether or not it should do so.
Methods: We conducted an observational study of 30 MS subjects who had submitted to venoplasty, using objective, semi-objective and subjective measures.
Results: Significant subjective improvement was reported by half of the subjects at three months, although the degree of perceived improvement was less at 12 months. The objective and semi-objective tests employed did not indicate improvement in any area over the one-year follow-up period. Seven of the 29 subjects in whom CT venography was performed at the end of the study year were found to have uni- or bilateral occlusion or >50% stenosis of at least one cervical draining vein, but they showed no deterioration in their clinical status compared to those in whom no venous occlusion nor stenosis was found.
Conclusion: No objective improvement was found at one year in thirty MS subjects who had undergone venoplasty, although many reported a degree of subjective benefit.