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(BPT) - Bonnie Christensen loves horses.
“They’re everything to me,” she said.
But there was a time when Bonnie feared she wouldn’t be able to care for or ride the horses she tends to on her property near Salt Lake City, Utah.
A leg bruise that wouldn’t heal had turned into an open sore and left her in excruciating pain.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it was probably a 12,” she said. “It hurt so bad.”
She struggled to care for her horses and stopped riding altogether. The pain also slowed her down at work; her job at the local farm store meant she was on her feet eight hours a day.
Doctors diagnosed Bonnie with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). A leg vein carrying blood back to her heart stopped working properly and caused the blood to pool in her legs. That can cause swelling and pain; in Bonnie’s case, it developed into an open wound. “It looked horrible,” she said.
Bonnie’s doctor used a product called the VenaSeal™ Closure System (www.Venaseal.com) from Medtronic to treat her condition. Using ultrasound as a guide, surgeons inserted a catheter into the diseased vein, then injected a medical adhesive to seal it.
“It glues the bad vein shut, wall to wall,” said Dr. Kathleen Gibson, medical director of the Washington Vascular Surgeons in Seattle, Washington. “The blood that was flowing through the diseased pathway immediately diverts to the deep veins in the muscle where blood flow is more efficient.”
Dr. Gibson is an expert in the treatment of CVI. A local anesthetic is used at the insertion site and patients are awake the entire time. A typical appointment takes less than an hour; patients experience minimal discomfort and can walk out as soon as it’s over. “In my experience, a majority of my patients are able to go back to their regular activities on the same day — we don’t put any restrictions on their activity afterwards,” said Dr. Gibson.
Common Issue for Both Men and Women
It’s estimated 20 to 30 percent of Americans — women and men — suffer from CVI. But because CVI often presents as varicose veins, many people delay seeking treatment because they consider it a cosmetic issue.
For Bruce Schmidt of Minneapolis, CVI started as tightness in his ankle. Within two weeks it had progressed to a painful, open sore.
“It felt like 100 needles poking me,” he said. “Being on my feet at work was difficult and at home I would sit in the house and not want to do anything.”
After talking with his doctor, Schmidt also underwent a VenaSeal procedure and within three days, the pain that had plagued him in his ankle was gone. “I’m back to normal,” he said.
Patients who undergo other types of procedures using heat to close the vein, like laser-based therapies, can sometimes experience nerve injury due to heat and require longer recovery times. “The VenaSeal procedure is a good therapy for patients who want to have an easier recovery with a shorter downtime, compared to other treatment options,” Dr. Gibson said.
More than 100,000 VenaSeal procedures have been completed worldwide. But only recently did the VenaSeal procedure receive coverage from most U.S. Medicare providers and some private health insurance companies.
VenaSeal treatment worked out so well for Bonnie that she’s back to riding horses again.
Treatment with VenaSeal Closure System is prescribed by your physician. Your physician should discuss all potential benefits and risks with you. Results may vary, this story represents individual experiences with VenaSeal Closure System.For safety information, please visit: https://www.medtronic.com/us-en/patients/treatments-therapies/varicose-vein-therapies/important-safety-information.html. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.006898 Proebstle, T.M. The European Multicenter Study on Cyanoacrylate Embolization of Refluxing Great Saphenous Veins without Tumescent Anesthesia and without Compression Therapy. Results presented at Charing Cross; 2016; London, UK. Morrison N, et al. Randomized Trial Comparing Cyanoacrylate Embolization and Radiofrequency Ablation for Incompetent Great Saphenous Veins (VeClose). J Vasc Surg. 2015;61(4):985–994. Proebstle, T.M. The European Multicenter Study on Cyanoacrylate Embolization of Refluxing Great Saphenous Veins without Tumescent Anesthesia and without Compression Therapy. Results presented at Charing Cross; 2016; London, UK.