Importance: One-year outcomes from the Early Venous Reflux Ablation (EVRA) randomized trial showed accelerated venous leg ulcer healing and greater ulcer-free time for participants who are treated with early endovenous ablation of lower extremity superficial reflux.
Objective: To evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of early endovenous ablation of superficial venous reflux in patients with venous leg ulceration.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Between October 24, 2013, and September 27, 2016, the EVRA randomized clinical trial enrolled 450 participants (450 legs) with venous leg ulceration of less than 6 months' duration and superficial venous reflux. Initially, 6555 patients were assessed for eligibility, and 6105 were excluded for reasons including ulcer duration greater than 6 months, healed ulcer by the time of randomization, deep venous occlusive disease, and insufficient superficial venous reflux to warrant ablation therapy, among others. A total of 426 of 450 participants (94.7%) from the vascular surgery departments of 20 hospitals in the United Kingdom were included in the analysis for ulcer recurrence. Surgeons, participants, and follow-up assessors were not blinded to the treatment group. Data were analyzed from August 11 to November 4, 2019.
Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to receive compression therapy with early endovenous ablation within 2 weeks of randomization (early intervention, n = 224) or compression with deferred endovenous treatment of superficial venous reflux (deferred intervention, n = 226). Endovenous modality and strategy were left to the preference of the treating clinical team.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome for the extended phase was time to first ulcer recurrence. Secondary outcomes included ulcer recurrence rate and cost-effectiveness.
Results: The early-intervention group consisted of 224 participants (mean [SD] age, 67.0 [15.5] years; 127 men [56.7%]; 206 White participants [92%]). The deferred-intervention group consisted of 226 participants (mean [SD] age, 68.9 [14.0] years; 120 men [53.1%]; 208 White participants [92%]). Of the 426 participants whose leg ulcer had healed, 121 (28.4%) experienced at least 1 recurrence during follow-up. There was no clear difference in time to first ulcer recurrence between the 2 groups (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.57-1.17; P =.28). Ulcers recurred at a lower rate of 0.11 per person-year in the early-intervention group compared with 0.16 per person-year in the deferred-intervention group (incidence rate ratio, 0.658; 95% CI, 0.480-0.898; P =.003). Time to ulcer healing was shorter in the early-intervention group for primary ulcers (hazard ratio, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.12-1.64; P =.002). At 3 years, early intervention was 91.6% likely to be cost-effective at a willingness to pay of £20000 ($26283) per quality-adjusted life year and 90.8% likely at a threshold of £35000 ($45995) per quality-adjusted life year.
Conclusions and Relevance: Early endovenous ablation of superficial venous reflux was highly likely to be cost-effective over a 3-year horizon compared with deferred intervention. Early intervention accelerated the healing of venous leg ulcers and reduced the overall incidence of ulcer recurrence.
Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: ISRCTN02335796
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