A new noninvasive method for the accurate and precise assessment of varicose vein diameters

Damiano Baldassarre, Linda Pustina, Samuela Castelnuovo, Alighiero Bondioli, Matteo Carlà, Cesare R. Sirtori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The feasibility and reproducibility of a new ultrasonic method for the direct assessment of maximal varicose vein diameter (VVD) were evaluated. A study was also performed to demonstrate the capacity of the method to detect changes in venous diameter induced by a pharmacologic treatment. Patients with varicose vein disease were recruited. A method that allows the precise positioning of patient and transducer and performance of scans in a gel-bath was developed. Maximal VVD was recorded both in the standing and supine positions. The intraassay reproducibility was determined by replicate scans made within 15 minutes in both positions. The interobserver variability was assessed by comparing VVDs measured during the first phase baseline examination with those obtained during baseline examinations in the second phase of the study. The error in reproducibility of VVD determinations was 5.3% when diameters were evaluated in the standing position and 6.4% when assessed in the supine position. The intramethod agreement was high, with a bias between readings of 0.06 ± 0.18 mm and of -0.02 ±0.19 mm, respectively, in standing and supine positions. Correlation coefficients were better than 0. 99 in both positions. The method appears to be sensitive enough to detect small changes in VVDs induced by treatments. The proposed technique provides a tool of potential valid use in the detection and in vivo monitoring of VVD changes in patients with varicose vein disease. The method offers an innovative approach to obtain a quantitative assessment of varicose vein progression and of treatment effects, thus providing a basis for epidemiologic surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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