Homeostatic feelings - a novel explanation of vein symptoms derived from an experimental patient study

Vasa. 2019 Nov;48(6):492-501. doi: 10.1024/0301-1526/a000807. Epub 2019 Jun 27.


Background: Vein symptoms (VS) entail diffuse leg discomfort and pain coinciding with a perception of weighty or swollen legs. Their traditional classification as a form of venous disease may be inaccurate as they occur in patients with no or any venous disorder. We hypothesized that VS would emerge from a primordially standing associated perturbation in the lower limbs which is not necessarily connected with a venous disorder. Patients and methods: Patients were sorted into groups according to the CEAP classification, VS only (C0s), primary varicose veins (C2p), varicose veins plus oedema (C2p and C3), and venous dermatopathy (C4). Patients completed questionnaires before and one week after they were exposed to a test of stationary standing. Results: Patients (N = 127) in the four groups differed by sex, age and body weight. The VS experienced in the preceding week scored the same in all groups at 3.1 on a numeric rating scale (range 0-10; SD 1.6). During standing, lower leg volume increased and symptoms emerged to the same extent across patient groups and were reduced similarly by compression (volume by 1.7 %, symptoms by 41.7 %). The emergence of symptoms was neither correlated with leg volume increase per se, nor with limiting this increase by compression. Symptoms recorded at baseline correlated with the symptoms provoked by the stress test with bare legs while the symptoms reported at follow-up, when stockings were worn regularly, correlated with the stress test with compression. Conclusions: VS, in terms of neuropsychology, reflect a homeostatic disturbance experienced in the presence and absence of venous disease. Thus, VS are not distinctive for the presence of venous disease insofar as they may reflect dynamic homeostatic feelings resulting from a standing-related disequilibrium in the legs' internal environment.

Keywords: Venous disease; compression therapy; gravitational stress test; homeostatic feelings; vein symptoms; venous symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Edema
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Stockings, Compression
  • Varicose Veins*
  • Veins
  • Venous Insufficiency*