A pilot study of venous duplex ultrasound parameters in healthy children.

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OBJECTIVE: The spectrum of chronic venous disease (CVD) in adults is well documented, whereas there is a paucity of data published commenting on pediatric CVD. We previously identified that there is often venous reflux present in cases of pediatric lower extremity edema despite an alternative confirmed diagnosis. To further assess the clinical significance of this venous reflux, this study aimed to elicit venous parameters in healthy pediatric controls.

METHODS: Healthy pediatric volunteers aged 5 to 17 years were recruited for venous reflux study. A comprehensive venous reflux study was performed with the patient standing. Vein diameter, patterns of valvular reflux, and accessory venous anatomy were examined in the deep and superficial venous systems.

RESULTS: Eighteen children including 10 boys and 8 girls were studied. Five volunteers were aged 5 to 8 years, six volunteers were aged 9 to 12 years, and seven volunteers were aged 13 to 17 years. Great saphenous vein (GSV) diameter at the saphenofemoral junction significantly increased with age. Deep vein valve closure time (VCT) did not differ significantly between groups, whereas GSV VCT was significantly higher in the 9- to 12-year age group. Incidental venous insufficiency was identified in 60% of children aged 5 to 8 years (n = 3), 50% of children aged 9 to 12 years (n = 3), and 57% of children aged 13 to 17 years (n = 4). All superficial venous reflux was confined to the GSV; there were no cases of isolated deep venous reflux. Reflux was identified at multiple GSV stations in 60% of children. There was no significant difference in incompetent GSV VCT in comparing children with and without deep venous reflux. Accessory superficial veins were identified in 20% of children aged 5 to 8 years (n = 1), 50% of children aged 9 to 12 years (n = 3), and 43% of children aged 13 to 17 years (n = 3). The presence of an accessory saphenous vein was not associated with deep venous reflux in any patient, and only 29% of those with accessory saphenous venous anatomy had evidence of superficial venous (GSV) reflux.

CONCLUSIONS: The GSV continues to grow in diameter through the teenage years. Incidental valvular incompetence and GSV reflux are common. The presence of accessory saphenous veins is similarly common and not associated with venous reflux. The clinical significance and natural history of this incidental venous reflux remain unclear. Future research should determine whether these changes seen in the pediatric age group lead to CVD during later years of life.





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Diagnosis | Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Radiology




Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Medical Imaging

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