Hemodynamics of the sapheno-femoral complex: An operational diagnosis of proximal femoral valve function

Massimo Cappelli, R. Molino Lova, S. Ermini, I. Giangrandi, F. Giannelli, P. Zamboni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. A significant relationship between great saphenous vein (GSV) caliber at the thigh and function of the terminal valve of the sapheno-femoral junction (SFJ) has already been demonstrated. Yet, the function of the proximal common femoral valve (FV), which is missing in 20-24% of cases, might also play a significant role in SFJ reflux. The aim of this paper was to verify whether GSV caliber also predicts the function/presence of FV. Methods. Using a high-resolution duplex scanner we selected 572 GSVs showing clear-cut SFJ incompetence. Then, by positioning the probe on the inguinal skin fold and orientating the probe upward, we tested FV function. Valve incompetence was diagnosed when a retrograde flow lasting longer than 0.5 s was elicited by both calf squeezing with sudden release and Valsalva maneuver, with the patient standing. Finally, in all patients we measured GSV caliber 15 cm below the groin in the standing position. Results. GSV caliber =7 was not predictive of FV function/presence (51.9% competence vs 48.1% incompetence/absence). In contrast, GSV caliber ≤6 mm and GSV caliber ≥8 mm were highly predictive of FV competence and incompetence/absence, respectively (sensibility 98.6%, specificity 80.4%, positive predictive power 88.2%, negative predictive power 97.4%, diagnostic accuracy 91.3%). Conclusions. Our data strengthen the relationship between GSV caliber at the thigh and hemodynamics of the whole sapheno-femoral complex, including in this definition the FV also.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-360
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Angiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Saphenous vein
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Varicose veins
  • Venous insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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