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Thrombosis, phlebitis, and varicose veins

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:198
  1. Bruce Campbell
  1. Consultant in vascular and general surgery Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter EX2 5DW

    Varicose veins don't confer significant risk of deep vein thrombosis

    Varicose veins have been placed high on the list of risk factors for deep vein thrombosis both in British and European guidelines.1 2 But warnings of a high risk of thrombosis for people with varicose veins are based on limited evidence3 4 5 6 7 and raise some important questions for those advising and treating them. Firstly, what is the risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients with varicose veins, either in their normal daily lives or when other risk factors are present? Secondly, what is the risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients having surgery for varicose veins, and what prophylaxis should be used?

    The evidence for an association between varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis is based solely on the results of studies on cohorts of patients undergoing abdominal or pelvic surgery.3 4 5 6 7 These documented varicose …

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