Patient Info

Patient Information — Venous Anatomy

Venous Anatomy

Like arteries, veins are blood vessels.  Arteries pump blood from the heart carrying oxygen to every area of the body.  Veins then return the blood to the heart.

To move the blood back to the heart, veins rely on a system of muscular pumps and valves.  Healthy veins allow blood to move in only one direction, toward the heart.

Chronic Venous InsufficiencyChronic Venous Insufficiency

When veins become incompetent or insufficient, some of the blood flows backward or refluxes and collects in veins that become swollen as a result.

A range of health problems can result, including the formation of varicose veins, spider veins, reticular veins and edema. These conditions may create cosmetic concerns but they are progressive and can develop into serious medical issues, including skin changes and ulceration.

Incompetent Valves and Venous Reflux

Incompetent Valves and Venous RefluxHeredity is the primary factor in venous disease. Other factors include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Phlebitis
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Varicose VeinsSigns and Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

  • Pain, pressure, itching, tightness, or heaviness in calves or legs
  • Tiredness and heaviness
  • Swelling
  • Appearance of varicose veins
  • Skin color changes
  • Leg ulcers