Chronic Venous Insufficiency
In the circulatory system, veins return blood that is low in oxygen to the heart. In the lower extremities, venous blood return (blood in veins) occurs against gravity, and is low flow, low pressure and is assisted by muscle contraction. Vein valves play an important role in compartmentalizing venous blood, preventing it from flowing backwards and pooling. When vein valves allow blood to flow the wrong way (aka are incompetent), the back-flow of blood is known as venous reflux, which in turn increases the pressure in the veins causing venous stasis and hypertension. This is the starting point for much of venous disease – backwards blood flow leads to blood pooling, higher pressures, and internal swelling.
Chronic venous insufficiency
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that occurs when the veins and/or valves in the leg are not functioning properly. This results in poor venous return. The sluggish flow caused by CVI is commonly called venous stasis and because it is not self-correcting it becomes a chronic condition. There are many symptoms associated with CVI, including:
- Swollen Legs and/or Ankles.
- Tightness in calf area or itchy, painful legs.
- Pain during walking.
- Skin-color changes and embrittlement of skin, particularly near the ankles.
- Varicose veins.
- Venous Leg Ulcers (VLU) that can be very resistant to treatment