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Will getting varicose veins removal cause cardiovascular problems?

This question was asked in Irvine, California and has 10 answer(s) as of 01/31/2013.
Could cardiovascular problems or other health problems be caused by getting a varicose veins treatment like sclerotherapy? Heart disease runs in my family. My father had coronary bypass surgery and there is a history of heart attacks on my mother's side of the family as well. Would I put myself at increased risk for these by getting veins treatment?

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Doctors Answers (10)

Varicose vein and arterial diseases are very different. Basically, veins get streched out and arteries become plugged up. Treating one doesn't affect the other. If your veins are working badly and causing symptoms, they meet the criteria for medically necessity and then can be covered under most insurance plans. Even small green and purple veins cause many symptoms, but do not meet the criteria for being covered by insurance. Sclerotherapy when perfomed properly will result in the closure of a treated vein. The blood previously flowing thru these bad veins will be shifted towards the remaining good veins. Your question hints at a good point. If a person has arterial disease affecting the arteries supplying the heart muscle, they often need to have a leg vein removed to bypass a blocked heart artery. One might ask, What if I need that vein in my leg for a future procedure to treat my heart disease?" Well, a diseased vein is not a good "spare part" as it is streched out and may not fit well around the heart. Keeping such a vein "just-in-case" is not a good argument since there are many other blood vessels in the body that can be used as a "spare part". The risks for treating abnormal veins is minimal. A complete list of these may be found at our website.

Excellent question. No getting your varicose veins treated will not increase your risk for heart disease.

Vein problems and cardiovascular disease are unrelated. The leg veins are used in bypass surgery, and since treatment of leg veins involves elimination, normal veins should not be eliminated. Abnormal veins would not be suitable for bypass, and since more stents and less bypass surgery is used to treat cardiovascular disease, there is little lost in treating abnormal veins. Treating abnormal veins by eliminating will not worsen your circulation or lead to cardiovascular disease.

The many causes and risks of cardiovascular vascular disease include genetics, diet, other diseases such as diabetes, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Sclerotherapy uses a non-toxic FDA approved sclerosant that is a medical grade detergent and only has a local effect near the injected vein. The sclerosant works by a mechanism called "protein theft" that is limited to a small area and the sclerosant is inactivated within seconds by its interaction with blood proteins. This treatment does not damage the cardiovascular system and will improved venous circulation by removing dysfunctional veins. New veins will still grow easily throughout your life as needed while dysfunctional veins reduce overall venous flow by increasing venous reflux and venous pressure. Finally, the risk of varicose veins is unrelated to the risk of coronary and arterial disease.

No, it cannot lead to cardiovascular problems.

Varicose vein removal does not cause other cardiovascular problems. There is no correlation between leg vein problems, such as varicose veins and venous insufficiency, and heart disease. Nor is there any correlation between leg vein treatment and other cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes. Getting varicose veins treated will help improve the long term health of your legs. It may also help reduce your risk of DVT (deep venous thrombosis), which is a dangerous cardiovascular condition. For patients that have a history of heart attacks or coronary artery disease, as well as those patients who have a strong family history of heart disease, consideration needs to be given to saving a section of great saphenous vein in the legs. This vein is sometimes harvested at the time of coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and used to perform the coronary bypass around blockages in the arteries on the heart. Getting your varicose and spider veins treated does not put you at risk for needing coronary bypass surgery. If the saphenous veins are ablated in both legs, and later you need coronary bypass surgery, there are other vessels that can be used for the bypass, such as the internal thoracic artery (also called the internal mammary artery), and the radial artery. These days, most coronary artery disease is treated with angioplasty and stents, thus avoiding coronary artery bypass surgery altogether.

The short answer is no. When we treat varicose veins, that means that the vein is defective already and cannot be used for cardiac bypass surgeries. Other veins (mammary...) will be used instead. Regarding sclerotherapy, the volume is so small and the concentration so diluted that the cardiac risks are almost non-existant. Sclerotherapy has been used for over 40 years now with excellent results and almost no cardiac side effects whatsoever.

Treating your venous reflux disease should not cause cardiovascular problems. An ultrasound evaluation will determine which veins are affected by reflux. After this is done, I would be in a better position to advise further.

There is no correlation between varicose veins in the legs and coronary heart disease. Treating varicose veins, which are dysfunctional, does not increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

No. The veins are very superficial and carry relatively small volumes of blood. They do not have major effects on cardiac function.

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