Management of Vascular Heart Disease
Veins carry oxygen-poor blood back to the heart after it has delivered essential nutrients to our body’s tissues. They have one-way valves every few inches that help keep blood flowing in the right direction. If these valves leak or become blocked, some blood may flow backwards and pool in the vein. Blood pressure rises and the vein weakens under the additional strain so that its elastic walls balloon outward. Any of the body’s veins may be affected by venous disease, including the superficial veins just beneath the skin, the deep veins near the bones, and the perforating veins that carry blood between the two. Conservative treatment typically involves a combination of leg elevation and compression stockings to improve blood flow. Blood thinners may be given to treat or prevent blood clots, although these drugs may themselves damage the valves and raise blood pressure. Surgical options include varicose vein removal for superficial veins; subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery (SEPS) for perforating veins; and valve repair, valve transplant from the arm veins, and vein bypasses for deep veins.