Objectives: Endovenous thermal ablation (EVTA) of varicose veins was introduced in the late 1990s with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) using the VNUS Closure device. The results of the original VNUS Closure device for the abolition of truncal venous reflux at 15 years are reported.
Methods: A prospective audit of a group of patients treated with VNUS Closure 15 years previously was carried out, using clinical assessment and duplex ultrasound. A total of 189 patients were treated with VNUS Closure between March 1999 and December 2001 and were invited for clinical assessment (subjective and objective) and duplex ultrasonography (DUS) to assess treatment outcome and de novo disease progression. DUS outcome of the treated vein was graded: 1, complete success (complete atrophy); 2, partial success (> 1 patent section; none giving rise to recurrent varicose veins); 3, partial failure (≥ 1 patent sections giving rise to recurrent varicose veins); 4, complete failure.
Results: Fifty-eight patients (91 legs, 101 truncal veins) returned for follow-up DUS, giving a 31.5% response rate (many patients had moved or had died in the 15 years). Two truncal veins had been excluded following treatment elsewhere presumably for partial or complete failure. At a mean of 15.4 years post-procedure, 51 (56%) reported no varicose veins, 58 (100%) that they were pleased that they had the procedure and 57 (98%) that they would recommend the procedure. DUS showed 88% of patients achieved success with no clinical recurrence in the originally treated veins. De novo reflux was identified in 47 of 91 legs (51.6%), showing disease progression in veins that were originally competent.
Conclusions: RFA with VNUS Closure achieved excellent long-term technical success in treating venous reflux in truncal veins 15 years post-procedure, demonstrated by DUS. This bodes well for the increased use of EVTA in treating truncal vein reflux.
Keywords: Anterior accessory saphenous vein; Great saphenous vein; Radiofrequency ablation; Small saphenous vein; VNUS closure; Varicose veins; Venous reflux.
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