Deep venous disease refers to any condition that affects your body’s veins. Venous insufficiency and other vein conditions can be acute (sudden), or they can last for months or years as a chronic condition. In severe cases, your limbs or your life may be at risk.
The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center provides personalized, expert care for venous diseases. Our highly skilled surgeons deliver innovative treatments to restore blood flow and protect your life and limbs.
Deep Venous Disease Treatment: Why Choose Barnes-Jewish Hospital?
Our vascular surgeons specialize in treating conditions that affect your arteries and veins. The Heart & Vascular Center offers:
- Precise care for each patient: Highly trained vascular experts specialize in resolving vein disease to restore blood flow. You have access to vein bypass surgery as well as newer catheter-based procedures. Find out more about vascular surgery at the Heart & Vascular Center.
- Innovative therapies: We are up to date on the latest advances in vascular care and can bring those treatments to you. We frequently take part in clinical trials and research studies to assess new therapies.
- Personalized care: We take a team approach at the Heart & Vascular Center, where doctors from multiple specialties work together to plan your treatment. We take into account heart, lung and vascular disease and any other health concerns.
Deep Venous Diseases We Treat
Any deep venous disease can block your blood vessels, raising the risk of a dangerous clot. A blood clot in your leg may be a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). A blood clot that breaks free and travels to your lung is a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms can block blood flow, reduce your oxygen levels and, in severe cases, cause death.
Our vascular team provides complete care for all conditions affecting your venous system, including:
- deep venous obstruction: a blockage in your veins
- nonthrombotic iliac vein lesion (NIVL): a problem that occurs when an artery in your pelvis presses against the iliac vein and reduces blood flow
- thoracic outlet syndrome: a challenging condition that occurs when blood vessels and nerves near your collarbone become compressed, causing pain, numbness and severe arm swelling due to blood clots
- venous insufficiency: a condition that occurs when blood doesn’t flow from your legs back to your heart as it should
Treatments for Deep Venous Disease
Vascular disease and venous insufficiency can be painful. The discomfort can severely limit your quality of life. In severe cases, conditions like chronic venous insufficiency and pulmonary embolism can lead to limb loss or even be fatal.
Our Heart & Vascular Center team carefully assesses your condition and recommends the most appropriate treatment for you. Our goal is to restore blood flow to relieve pain, return your mobility and protect your well-being.
Medical therapies for deep venous disease
Your care may begin with lifestyle changes. Exercise and avoiding long periods of standing can help. Compression stockings encourage healthier blood flow.
Your vascular specialist may recommend medications such as:
- anticoagulants (blood thinners) to reduce blood clots
- diuretics to help your body eliminate excess fluid that can cause swelling
- pentoxifylline to improve blood flow and relieve muscle cramps when you’re active
- thrombolytics (clot dissolvers) to break down a clot in an emergency
Nonsurgical treatment for deep venous disease
Treatments for vein disease have changed during the past decade. Today, most of the procedures we use are minimally invasive (don’t require an open incision). Our vascular surgeons offer a complete array of treatments for peripheral artery disease, chronic venous insufficiency and other vascular problems.
We close or reopen narrowed veins without surgery, using a catheter (a thin tube inserted into the vein). We may guide a catheter to the problem via the foot or wrist. These techniques can make nonsurgical approaches available to more patients. Our catheter-based treatments include:
- Stents: Stents are tiny wire tubes that hold blood vessels open. We place a stent precisely in a narrowed vein to restore blood flow. We offer all types of stenting, including iliac vein stenting to repair NIVL.
- Vein clearing: Clots in veins can harden with time and form scar tissue. We can use rotor-like tools on the catheter to shave off and remove this tissue. We sometimes use clot-busting medications to dissolve and remove clots.
- Balloons: We send a tiny balloon on a catheter into the blocked blood vessel. The balloon can open the narrowed vein. Or it can widen the vein by pressing built-up scar tissue against the vein walls. Drug-coated balloons can deliver medication to prevent re-narrowing.
Deep venous disease surgery
Endovascular (with a catheter) procedures can’t solve every issue. Some patients with deep vein blockages require vein bypass surgery.
In this procedure, we transplant a healthy vein from somewhere else in your body. The healthy vein reroutes blood flow around a damaged vein. The restored blood flow relieves pain and gives you back your limb function.
Our Deep Venous Disease Team
Our heart specialists work together to provide exceptional care for vascular problems, including chronic venous insufficiency and pulmonary embolism. Find a doctor.
Your vascular team may include:
- vascular surgeons who perform procedures related to arteries and veins
- interventional vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists who perform minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures
- podiatrists and plastic surgeons to assist with limb preservation and reconstruction
- physical therapists who oversee your rehabilitation as you recover
Deep Venous Disease Research and Clinical Trials
Heart & Vascular Center surgeons participate in clinical trials to assess new treatments for deep venous disease. We are active participants in the Society for Vascular Surgery-sponsored Vascular Registry, which maintains patient records to measure the effectiveness of new treatments. Learn more about our innovation.
To make an appointment with a Washington University vascular specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 314-273-7373.