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Clinical Research

White cell accumulation in dependent legs of patients with venous hypertension: a possible mechanism for trophic changes in the skin

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 18 June 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:1693
  1. P R S Thomas,
  2. G B Nash,
  3. J A Dormandy


    The mechanism by which chronic venous insufficiency and venous hypertension are associated with ulceration of the legs is not yet understood. To investigate this mechanism further accumulation of white cells in the dependent legs of normal volunteers, patients awaiting surgery for simple varicose veins, and patients with chronic venous insufficiency was studied. About 24% fewer white cells than in normal subjects left the dependent foot of patients with venous hypertension, and this trapping of white cells, was reversed when the foot was raised; similar changes were not observed in normal subjects or patients with varicose veins.

    The trophic skin changes typically seen in patients with venous hypertension may be aggravated by damage caused by the repeated accumulation of white cells in the microcirculation.

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