Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Are varicose veins a warning sign of potentially deadly clots?

Are varicose veins a warning sign of potentially deadly clots? Are varicose veins a warning sign of potentially deadly clots?
Melissa Porter | 01 March, 2018, 21:45

Adults diagnosed with varicose veins are at a significantly higher risk of incident deep venous thrombosis (DVT), and may also be more likely to develop pulmonary embolism (PE) and peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a new study in JAMA.

Varicose veins are swollen and broadened veins that more often than not happen on the legs and feet.

A study of 425,000 people suggests the condition should be considered a major red flag that someone is at risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism.

As of now, it is unclear whether common varicose vein treatments like sclerotherapy, elastic stockings, leg elevation and exercise could mitigate the risk of DVT, PE and PAD.

Whether varicose veins cause the clots, or are a real risk for them, however, is not known, Chang said. The researchers focused on two groups of patients: One group had varicose veins, and the other did not.

However, they caution that information on significant potential confounders, including smoking and obesity, was not available in the claims data used in their study and could account for the higher rates of not only DVT, but also PE and PAD. "Whether the association between varicose veins and DVT is causal or represents a common set of risk factors requires further research". Based on the strong relationship between varicose veins and an increased risk of more serious diseases, "patients with varicose veins deserve careful monitoring and early evaluation" for possible health consequences, he said.

Every year around 25,000 people in the United Kingdom bite the dust from a blood clot in a vein, and the condition is additionally the third driving reason for heart assaults and strokes.

The study results are not entirely new, Piazza said, since several studies have demonstrated an association between varicose veins and blood clots. An unaccounted-for confounder may be the key to the findings, he said, adding that he does not believe the association the researchers have shown is true. Moreover, patients with chronic venous diseases have increased leukocyte adhesion and more activated leukocytes. "Potentially, it's partly maybe a factor that's leading to their risk for varicose veins".

Whether varicose veins cause these other conditions or share the same cause "remains the focus of ongoing research studies", he said.

Though the study confirms that associations between varicose veins and blood clots exist, it does not help to estimate the strength of this association, Kindzelski said.