Stratification of pelvic venous reflux in patients with pelvic varicose veins



      We investigated the association between the pattern and duration of pelvic venous reflux (PVR) and pelvic pain severity in patients with pelvic varicose veins (PVVs).


      The present retrospective study included 600 female patients with PVVs. Of the 600 patients, 453 had had PVVs and pelvic congestion syndrome (group 1) and 147 had had an asymptomatic disease course (group 2). Pelvic venous pain (PVP) was assessed using a visual analog scale. All the patients had undergone duplex ultrasound of the left and right renal veins, external, internal, and common iliac veins, and parametrial, uterine, gonadal, and vulvar veins (PV, UV, GV, and VV, respectively), with an assessment of their patency and diameter and the presence and duration of reflux. Reflux in the pelvic veins was considered pathologic if it lasted for >1 second.


      In group 1, PVR type I (1-2 seconds), II (3-5 seconds), and III (>5 seconds or spontaneous reflux in the absence of a loading test) was found in 31%, 58%, and 11% of the patients, respectively. Moderate and severe reflux (types II and III) was associated with severe PVP (mean score, 8.3 ± 0.5) in 69% of the group 1 patients. A combination of reflux in the GV, PV, UV, and internal iliac vein was associated with severe PVP (mean score, 8.1 ± 0.3) in 51% of these patients. A combination of reflux in the PVs, UVs, and VVs was associated with moderate pain (mean score, 5.3 ± 0.2) in 49.2% of group 1. In group 2, PVR type I, II, and III was present in 95%, 4%, and 1% of the patients, respectively, and was observed in the PV only in patients with type I; in the GVs, PVs, UVs, and internal iliac veins in those with type II; and in the PVs and GVs in the patients with type III reflux. Reflux in the GVs and UVs was significantly more prevalent in group 1 than in group 2 (GVs, 51% vs 6%; P = .0001; UVs, 57% vs 7%; P = .0001). A combination of reflux in the GVs and UVs was a predictor of severe PVVs (odds ratio, 19.7; 95% confidence interval, 11.3-34.6).


      In patients with PVVs, the presence and severity of pelvic pain will be determined by the type of PVR and its distribution in the pelvic veins. The combination of moderate to severe reflux (types II and III) in the PVs, UVs, and GVs was a predictor of severe PVP. Patients with asymptomatic PVVs were characterized by mild reflux (type I) in the PVs, with rare involvement of the GVs and UVs.

      Graphical abstract


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