Utility of the 50% stenosis criterion for patients undergoing stenting for chronic iliofemoral venous obstruction



      The criterion for venous stenting in symptomatic chronic iliofemoral venous obstruction has been the arbitrary use of stenosis of ≥50%. In the present study, we evaluated the intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)-determined degree of stenosis in patients who had undergone stenting for quality of life (QOL)-impairing symptoms and assessed the utility of the 50% stenosis cutoff.


      A retrospective review of contemporaneously entered electronic medical record data from 480 continuous patients (480 limbs) with initial iliofemoral stents placed (2014 to 2017) for symptomatic chronic iliofemoral venous obstruction impairing their QOL was performed. The IVUS-determined normal minimal luminal areas for the common femoral vein (125 mm), external iliac vein (150 mm), and common iliac vein (200 mm) were used to group limbs as having <50% (low-grade stenosis [LGS]) or ≥50% (high-grade stenosis [HGS]) stenosis. The variables compared included the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain score, venous clinical severity score (VCSS; range, 0-27), ulcer healing, supine foot venous pressures, QOL (20-item chronic venous disease QOL questionnaire), and stent patency. A composite chronic venous insufficiency score (CCVIS) incorporating the VAS score, VCSS, and CIVIQ-20 score for predicting improvement after stenting was evaluated.


      Of the 480 limbs, 283 and 197 were in the LGS and HGS groups, respectively. A preponderance of women, left laterality, and post-thrombotic syndrome were noted in both groups. At baseline, although no difference was found in the VAS for pain score between groups, the LGS group had a higher VCSS than did the HGS group (P = .05). The baseline median supine foot venous pressure was 15 and 14 mm Hg in the LGS and HGS groups, respectively (P = .17). At 24 months after stenting, the mean VCSS had improved from 6.3 to 4.4 (P < .0001) and from 5.7 to 3.7 (P < .0001) in the LGS and HGS groups, respectively, without significant differences between the two groups (P = .07). A greater prevalence of ulcers was found in the LGS group (18% vs 11%; P = .04), with no differences in healing (P = .41) or recurrence rates (P = .36). The QOL scores had improved in both groups (LGS, from 58 to 37 [P < .0001]; HGS, from 61 to 35 [P < .0001]), without differences between the two groups (P > .3). No significant differences in stent patency or reinterventions rates were found. A baseline CCVIS of ≥84.5, ≥86.9, or ≥105.3 was needed for a 30-, 40-, and 50-point improvement in most limbs after stenting.


      The degree of IVUS-determined iliofemoral venous stenosis did not appear to affect the initial clinical presentation, CEAP (clinical, etiologic, anatomic, pathophysiologic) clinical class, supine foot venous pressure, clinical improvement, QOL improvement, stent patency, or reintervention rates after stenting. Patients presenting with QOL-impairing symptoms in whom conservative treatment has failed merit consideration of correction of their obstruction even if the degree of stenosis is <50%. The use of a CCVIS might be helpful but requires further study.

      Graphical abstract


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