Chronic venous insufficiency

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Opinion statement

Patients with chronic venous insufficiency arguably have been relegated to a standard of care that is lower than that for those with the more appealing entity of peripheral arterial disease. Fortunately, the collaboration of an expanding group of clinicians (including cardiologists and vascular medicine specialists) with vascular surgeons is stimulating a renewed interest in the management of patients afflicted with venous disease. With the increased level of awareness of venous disease, technologic advances undoubtedly will augment the armamentarium available for the treatment of patients with chronic venous insufficiency. The focus on the prevention of venous thromboembolic complications has been advanced greatly, as witnessed by the growth of new pharmacologic agents, such as heparinoids, antiplatelet agents, direct thrombin inhibitors, thrombolytics, and pentasaccharides. In addition, the more aggressive strategy of intervening in acute deep venous obstruction by using thrombolytic agents and adjunctive mechanical thrombectomy devices potentially may obviate the future sequelae of chronic venous insufficiency. The tremendous growth of endovascular techniques in recent years has revolutionized the management of problems due to acute and chronic arterial obstructive disease. The application of these techniques in the future may have a similar impact in improving the clinical outcomes of patients with chronic venous disease and potentially, if proven safe and efficacious in clinical trials, may lower the threshold for intervention to an earlier disease stage. Similarly, with the advent of endovascular and endoscopic techniques, surgical procedures will also continue to evolve, with these procedures complementing one another, as opposed to serving as surrogates, which traditionally has been the case.