Epidemiology and aetiology of C4-6 disease

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Although our understanding of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) has improved, many important questions remain unanswered. Ensuring that patients are appropriately referred for specialist assessment and then receive evidence-based, cost-effective treatment continues to be challenging. The lifetime of risk of chronic venous ulceration (CVU) is around 1% with approximately 10% ulcers being open at any one time. The incidence skin changes disease is about 10 times greater (10%). However, many of the studies upon which these estimates are based are old and/or methodologically flawed. There is reason to believe that the incidence, prevalence and characteristics of CVI/CVU may have changed considerably over the last 10-20 years and that future change is likely. Further cross-sectional and longitudinal epidemiological studies are required to establish the size and nature of the health-care need going forward in developed and increasingly developing countries. CVI culminating CVU is primarily the result of sustained ambulatory venous hypertension, which in turn arises from superficial and/or deep venous reflux with or without deep vein obstruction. However, there are many other elements to this complex condition, for example, microvascular dysfunction; calf muscle pump efficiency; dermal inflammation; disordered fibroblast function and matrix production; failure of epithelialization; congenital and acquired thrombophilia; malnutrition, obesity and diet; and bacterial colonization. None of the currently available treatment modalities is entirely satisfactory and novel therapies based upon a clearer understanding of the disease at the psychological, genetic, mechanical, microvascular and microscopic level are required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-8
Number of pages7
Volume25 Suppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • chronic venous insufficiency
  • varicose ulcer
  • CEAP classification
  • varicose veins


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