Clinical tolerance of untreated reflux after iliac vein stent placement

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2023 Mar;11(2):294-301.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2022.09.009. Epub 2022 Oct 18.


Background: We have recently demonstrated in a large patient cohort that the prevalence and severity of reflux will improve in most limbs after stenting and that most limbs will not develop new-onset reflux. In the present report, we have focused on the long-term clinical outcomes associated with untreated reflux in the same patient cohort who had undergone iliofemoral venous stenting without correction of residual reflux.

Methods: The clinical outcomes data from 1379 limbs treated with only iliac vein stenting without correction of superficial or deep reflux from 1997 to 2018 were analyzed (23-year follow-up period). Of the 1379 limbs, 632 (46%) had had preexisting reflux before stenting and 747 (54%) had did not. The reflux data (reflux segmental score, air plethysmography, ambulatory venous pressure) for these patients have been previously reported in detail. The subsets were compared perioperatively with each other using the following variables: grade of swelling, visual analog scale for pain score, venous clinical severity score, venous stasis dermatitis, ulceration, and quality of life measures.

Results: Both groups demonstrated improvements in the venous clinical severity score, grade of swelling, visual analog scale score, and quality of life. No differences were found in ulcer healing (5% vs 3% for limbs with and without prestent reflux, respectively) and resolution of dermatitis (6% vs 5% for limbs with and without prestent reflux, respectively) between the two groups. Of the 632 limbs with preexisting reflux, 218 (34%) had had axial reflux and 414 had had nonaxial reflux (66%). The clinical outcomes were similar between the two groups. Using a multisegment reflux score, the limbs with prestent reflux (n = 632) were divided into two groups. A segmental score of ≥3 indicated severe reflux and a score of <3 indicated moderate reflux. Of these 632 limbs, 161 (25%) had severe reflux and 471 (75%) had moderate reflux. The two groups demonstrated similar outcomes for most clinical parameters. The post-thrombotic limbs and nonthrombotic limbs also showed similar outcomes.

Conclusions: The long-term follow-up of patients after iliac vein stenting showed that uncorrected reflux is well tolerated by most patients across most clinical measures.

Keywords: Axial; Dermatitis; Iliac vein stenting; Reflux; Ulcer.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Dermatitis* / complications
  • Humans
  • Iliac Vein / surgery
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Varicose Veins* / complications
  • Venous Insufficiency* / therapy