Vein Glossary

Below is a glossary of terms related to all aspects of venous disease

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Chronic venous insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that occurs when the venous wall and/or valves in the leg veins are not working effectively, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs.
  -- The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum


Greater Saphenous Vein (GSV)
The GSV courses from the groin to the ankle on the inner aspect of the leg. The GSV is responsible for most visible bulging veins in the thigh and inner aspect of the calf. All veins have valves, and if the valve does not work right, then bulging varicosities occur through the branches of the GSV.


Reflux
Venous reflux occurs when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become diseased and no longer function as one-way valves. The blood refluxes back into your legs and is basically going the wrong way. The blood is being pushed back into the leg, instead of moving towards the heart for proper oxygenation. -- Also called: venous reflux


Valve
This is a thin tissue in the lumen of the vein itself. When working properly, the valve prevents blood from leaking back down the vein the wrong way. Valves may not work right due to hereditary or previous clots.


Varicose Vein
Varicose veins are dilated veins near the surface of the skin that occur secondary to weakened valves and veins in your legs. In veins, there are one-way valves that keep blood flowing from your legs back up to your heart. When the valves are not functioning properly, blood collects in the veins in your legs and the pressure builds up. The veins become weakened, enlarged, and have a twisted appearance and may be dark blue in color. Varicose veins tend to run in families. Other causes of varicose veins include prior pregnancy, standing for long periods of time, age, tall stature, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and oral contraceptive use. Varicose veins are commonly found in the lower extremities.
  -- Evaluation of varicose veins: what do the clinical signs and symptoms reveal about the underlying disease and need for intervention?
  -- The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum


Vein
Veins return blood to the heart. There are many veins named and un-named in the human body. Veins contain valves which prevent back flow of blood.


Venous Hypertension
The term used to describe the higher the normal pressure in the venous system. This is usually related to dysfunction of the venous valve or an old clot.