What is Chronic Ve­nous In­suf­fi­ciency (CVI)?

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - News -

Chronic ve­nous in­suf­fi­ciency (CVI) is a con­di­tion that oc­curs when the ve­nous wall and/or valves in the leg veins are not work­ing ef­fec­tively, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for blood to re­turn to the heart from the legs. Veins re­turn blood to the heart from all the body’s or­gans. To reach the heart, the blood needs to flow up­ward from the veins in the legs. Calf mus­cles and the mus­cles in the feet need to con­tract with each step to squeeze the veins and push the blood up­ward. To keep the blood flow­ing up, and not back down, the veins con­tain one-way valves.

Chronic ve­nous in­suf­fi­ciency oc­curs when these valves be­come dam­aged, al­low­ing the blood to leak back­ward. Valve dam­age may oc­cur as the re­sult of ag­ing, ex­tended sit­ting or stand­ing or a com­bi­na­tion of ag­ing and re­duced mo­bil­ity. When the veins and valves are weak­ened to the point where it is dif­fi­cult for the blood to flow up to the heart, blood pres­sure in the veins stays el­e­vated for long pe­ri­ods of time, leading to CVI.

CVI most com­monly oc­curs as the re­sult of a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs, a dis­ease known as deep vein throm­bo­sis (DVT). As many as 30 per­cent of people with DVT will de­velop this prob­lem within 10 years af­ter di­ag­no­sis.

Symp­toms in­clude:

Swelling in the lower legs and an­kles Aching or tired­ness in the legs New vari­cose veins Leath­ery-look­ing skin on the legs Flak­ing or itch­ing skin on the legs or feet Sta­sis ul­cers (or ve­nous sta­sis ul­cers)

If CVI is not treated, the pres­sure and swelling in­crease un­til blood ves­sels burst. At the least, burst cap­il­lar­ies can cause lo­cal tis­sue in­flam­ma­tion. At worst, open sores ap­pear that are dif­fi­cult to heal & can be­come in­fected. CVI sever­ity in­creases as it pro­gresses. That’s why it is very im­por­tant to see your doc­tor if you have any of the symp­toms of CVI. The prob­lem will not go away if you wait, and the ear­lier it is di­ag­nosed and treated, the bet­ter your chances of pre­vent­ing se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

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