Chronic venous insufficiency (or CVI) is a medical condition in which the veins do not operate properly. Usually this is due to damage of the vein wall and/or valves—both of which are critical for returning blood to the heart from the legs.
Here’s a visual of the process when legs veins are healthy and functioning properly:
Here, you can see that normal, healthy veins have “valves” or little flaps within the vein that open and close as blood is pumped past them. It is these valves that help move the blood with each pulse, up and out of your legs and back to the heart where it will start its journey once again.
Alternatively, here’s a visual of the process when legs veins are unhealthy and not functioning properly (CVI):
Effective vein valve function is critical. When these valves fail and the vein walls become weak, gravity takes over and we see what’s called venous reflux. This means that the valve, which is supposed to open and close, does not fully close. When the vein valves cannot close to trap and therefore carry blood upwards against the pull of gravity, gravity wins and the blood begins to pool in the leg, unable to make the journey back to the heart.
The pooling of blood, thanks to venous insufficiency, usually causes a variety of symptoms such as:
- Visible varicose veins (bulging and ropelike)
- Sensation of restlessness, heaviness, or fatigue in the leg(s)
- Swelling of the feet and/or ankles
- Pain, aching, or throbbing in the leg(s)
- Cramping or itchy sensations in the leg(s)
- Non-healing ulcers on the skin
Chronic venous insufficiency is just that—chronic. It is a medical condition that will not correct itself and will continue to exist, or even worsen, unless steps are taken to treat the underlying problem.
How is venous insufficiency treated?
There are a wide variety of ways CVI can be effectively treated. Every patient is unique, and treatment is personalized to the individual.
Medical technology has come a long way. Oftentimes treatment for varicose veins can be done in as little as one treatment and the patient can go back to normal activities almost immediately. Thermal (heat) or non-thermal ablation techniques are effective ways in which a physician can treat venous insufficiency by shutting down the malfunctioning vein(s), without the need for surgery.
Interested in learning more about Miller Vein’s unique approach to treating venous insufficiency? See the ways in which we’ve helped more than 20,000 people so far…