OBJECTIVES: Venous pressure measurement using an intravenous catheter is the sole method for the diagnosis of venous hypertension in patients with chronic venous insufficiency. A noninvasive tool to quantify increased venous pressure is essential for studying venous pathophysiology. Aim of the study was to investigate the value of controlled compression ultrasound (CCU) for noninvasive assessment of venous pressure (VP) of the great saphenous vein (GSV) in healthy persons and patients with venous insufficiency to quantify venous hypertension.
METHODS: An optimal visible part of the GSV directly above the ankle was marked on the skin and compressed under ultrasound control and pressure needed for complete compression of the vein was recorded using a pressure manometer with a translucent silicone membrane. Complete insufficiency of the GSV (Hach IV) was documented by duplex ultrasound by an independent investigator before start of the study. VP measurement was performed while normal breathing, deep inspiration and expiration and during a standardized Valsalva maneuver.
RESULTS: Twenty controls and 19 patients with complete insufficiency of the GSV were included. Valsalva maneuver induced a slight increase in VP in controls (20.1 ± 4.5 vs 25.1 ± 6.6 mbar) but a significant higher increase in patients from 26 to 37 mbar (IQR 18.5-28.0 vs 31.5-43.0; p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Noninvasive venous pressure measurement of the great saphenous vein using CCU is feasible and documents an increased pressure during Valsalva maneuver in Hach IV patients compared to healthy controls.