Background: Certain nocturnal symptoms such as leg cramping (LC) and restless leg symptoms (RLS) are found in patients with venous disease. This study investigates the relationship between nocturnal symptoms and anatomic locations of superficial venous insufficiency.
Methods: A retrospective review of 371 consecutive patients presenting to a venous disease practice over a 1-year period was conducted. Patients underwent comprehensive assessment including standardized duplex scans. Superficial venous disease was classified by anatomic location (great saphenous vein [GSV], small saphenous vein [SSV], tributaries). Information on patient symptoms was obtained from questionnaires and patient interviews.
Results: Most patients in the cohort were female (315/371, 85%) with an average age of approximately 56 years. The 56 men had an average age of 63.2. Nearly all patients (92%) had findings of superficial venous reflux with the anatomic site of involvement as follows: GSV (51%), SSV (16%), and tributaries (33%). Thirty-two percent of patients experienced LC and 16% experienced RLS. The patterns of reflux did not differ between patients with nocturnal symptoms compared to those without nocturnal symptoms. Nine percent of patients with nocturnal symptoms had no evidence of venous disease. Of those patients with LC, 76% had reflux in the GSV, 48% had reflux in the SSV, and 92% had reflux in at least one segment of the superficial venous system. Of those patients with RLS, 78% had reflux in the GSV, 35% had reflux in the SSV, and 87% had reflux in at least one segment of the superficial venous system.
Conclusions: No significant difference was detected between patterns of superficial venous reflux in patients with nocturnal symptoms compared to those without nocturnal symptoms. In addition, the presence of nocturnal symptoms does not predict a specific pattern of disease. Future studies are needed to determine whether correction of the main truncal disease is sufficient or if ablation of both the truncal and tributary veins is necessary for alleviation of nocturnal symptoms.