Vascular Surgery - Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) and Venous Ulcers

The venous system is composed of a large network of vessels throughout the body that carry blood back to the heart. Inside the veins are tiny one way valves that prevent blood from pooling in the legs and arms. Over time the valves may become weak and in turn the blood pools in the legs; this is known as chronic venous insufficiency. The pooling of blood causes increased pressure in the legs and causes inflammation. 


Bluish discoloration of the lower legs

Ankle and leg swelling

Dry itchy skin

If left untreated ulcers may form on the skin. The ulcers usually form on the lower legs around the ankle.

Risk factors:


Family history

Standing for prolong periods of time.

History of Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)


The doctor can usually determine the diagnosis by a physical exam and history. An ultrasound may also be done to help aid in the diagnosis.


Treatment of CVI focuses on reducing the pressure in the legs and improving the circulation. Treatment includes elevation of the legs, exercise, and compression stockings.

If an ulcer develops the goal is to prevent it from getting larger and becoming infected. Local wound care with specialized gels may be sufficient, however antibiotics and surgery may be required to heal a wound.

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