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Varicose Vein Diagnosis


Whilst the presence of varicose veins is easily diagnosed by a visual inspection of the affected limb(s), the location and extent of the underlying venous insufficiency (failure of the leg-muscle pump) is more important to ensure that correct and proportional treatment is undertaken.

The gold standard for diagnosis of venous insufficiency is a Colour Duplex Ultrasound examination. This is likely to be the first, and often the only diagnostic test performed, after a patient has presented to a clinic and the Doctor has taken a medical history and completed a physical examination. (If available, a basic Doppler test may also be performed at this time, to assess the presence of reflux at various sites).

  • Medical History:

To gather information from the patient, with reference to general medical conditions, previous surgery and more detailed information about any previous vascular history. To establish the onset of the condition visually, as well as the onset of any symptoms, such as aching, itching and swelling,  all of which are associated with venous insufficiency.

  • Physical Examination:

Testing the peripheral vascular supply by feeling pulses and excluding an aortic aneurysm. Assessing the symmetry of the legs with reference to size, ankle diameter and colour, as well as noting any scars highlighting previous surgery. Investigating the skin for any skin changes associated with venous insufficiency as well as noting swelling or ulceration.

  • Doppler Test:

The basic Doppler test is performed with a small hand held Doppler machine, to assess for the presence of reflux at the major sites.

  • Colour Duplex Ultrasound  Examination:  

To accurately map any sites of incompetence and any additional problems,



Continue here to read more about the Colour Duplex Ultrasound examination.


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