A review of randomised controlled trials comparing ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy with endothermal ablation for the treatment of great saphenous varicose veins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The last 10 years have seen the introduction into everyday clinical practice of a wide range of novel non-surgical treatments for varicose veins. In July 2013, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended the following treatment hierarchy for varicose veins: endothermal ablation, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, surgery and compression hosiery. The aim of this paper is to review the randomised controlled trials that have compared endothermal ablation and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy to determine if the level 1 evidence base still supports an "endothermal ablation first" strategy for the treatment of varicose veins.

METHODS: A PubMed and OVID literature search (until 31 January 2015) was performed and randomised controlled trials comparing endothermal ablation and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy were obtained.

RESULTS: Although anatomical success appeared higher with endothermal ablation than ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, clinical success and patient-reported outcomes measures were similar. Morbidity and complication rates were very low and not significantly different between endothermal ablation and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy was consistently less expensive that endothermal ablation.

CONCLUSIONS: All endovenous modalities appear to be successful and have a role in modern day practice. Although further work is required to optimise ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy technique to maximise anatomical success and minimise retreatment, the present level 1 evidence base shows there is no significant difference in clinical important outcomes between ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy and endothermal ablation. As ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy is less expensive, it is likely to be a more cost-effective option in most patients in most healthcare settings. Strict adherence to the treatment hierarchy recommended by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence seems unjustified.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-40
Number of pages7
JournalPhlebology
Volume31
Issue number4
Early online date9 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

Keywords

  • Endovascular Procedures/methods, Female, Humans, Male, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Sclerotherapy/methods, Ultrasonography/methods, Varicose Veins/diagnostic imaging