Compression Therapy Versus Surgery in the Treatment of Patients With Varicose Veins: A RCT

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2014 Jun;47(6):670-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2014.02.015. Epub 2014 Mar 24.


Objective: Superficial venous reflux and varicose veins are common. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to assess effectiveness of compression therapy compared with surgery for superficial venous reflux.

Methods: 153 patients with CEAP class C2-C3 and superficial venous reflux were randomized to receive either conservative treatment (compression stockings) (n = 77) or surgery (n = 76). Clinical examination including duplex ultrasound (DUS) was performed at entry and 1 and 2 years after randomization (compression group) or surgery (surgery group). Venous Clinical Severity Score without compression stockings (VCSS-S), Venous Segmental Disease Score (VSDS), Venous Disability Score (VDS), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were assessed at entry and at the follow-ups. Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis and according to the actual treatment performed.

Results: At 2 years, 70/76 patients in the surgery group and 11/77 patients in the compression group had been operated on. VCSS-S decreased from 4.6 to 3.5 in the compression group (p < .01) and from 4.8 to 0.6 in the surgery group (p < .001). VSDS decreased from 7.7 to 7.0 in the compression group and from 8.2 to 0.9 in the surgery group (p < .0001). HRQoL did not change in the compression group, but improved significantly in the surgery group.

Conclusion: The surgical elimination of non-complicated superficial venous reflux is an effective treatment when compared with providing compression stockings only.

Keywords: Compression therapy; Operative treatment; Superficial venous reflux; Varicose veins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Quality of Life
  • Saphenous Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stockings, Compression*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Varicose Veins / diagnosis
  • Varicose Veins / surgery
  • Varicose Veins / therapy*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures*