Cardiology Team and Imaging Services collaborate to bring clinical care option to community
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital has introduced leg vein ablation for patients seeking treatment for symptoms related to varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Though fewer than 10 percent of people with vein disease – including varicose veins – seek treatment, left untreated this condition can lead to CVI. This disease affects about 190 million people worldwide and more than 30 million Americans. CVI is a progressive disease that can cause leg pain, swelling, restlessness, discoloration, skin damage and ulcers.
The addition of this procedure is a collaborative effort between the hospital’s Imaging Department and cardiology team in the Heart Center and Leg Pain and Vascular Center. BCH offers this treatment as an outpatient procedure, and began scheduling screening visits in December.
“We are treating symptomatic vein disease and CVI as part of a patient’s overall health. It deserves an accurate medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment and plan,” said cardiologist Dr. Thomas Smith. “It is not just as a cosmetic issue, but one that can have important health implications for the future.”
In describing the procedure, Dr. Smith continued, “A physician inserts a single-use catheter into a patient’s leg vein, and uniform heat is applied to seal off the problem vein and allow blood to reroute to healthy veins.”
“This is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure where patients can have a comfortable recovery and generally return to normal activities after just a few days,” said Darlene Schrantz, RN, director of patient care services. “Our providers were great advocates for bringing this procedure to our facility, so our patients don’t have to travel outside the area to access this treatment.”
Varicose veins and CVI occur when valves in leg veins that direct blood from the legs back toward the heart no longer function properly. This causes blood to pool in the legs. Although this can occur at any time, there are factors that increase the risks of developing this condition. These include increased age, women who have been pregnant, a family history of CVI, and people who stand at their job for a great deal of time. Leg vein ablation may be an option for individuals who have leg pain, a heavy feeling in their legs, or a family history of chronic vein insufficiency or venous reflux.
“We encourage our primary care and cardiology patients to make this part of their conversation with their providers,” said Primary Care Center Practice Manager Reid Gunnersen. “Minimally invasive intervention like leg vein ablation now may prevent larger health complications in the future.”
For a screening and consultation, call the BCH Heart Center at (716) 592-9644.