Chronic Venous Insufficiency, The Big Picture

In this post, I'd like to talk about CVI (Chronic Venous Insufficiency) from a 30,000 foot view. What causes it? How do I know if I have it? How is it treated? I will be borrowing a bit of content from Lympha Press, our pneumatic compression pump vendor, as they have done a great job summing it up into fewer words.

What is CVI?

"Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) affects many adults age 50 and above. It can cause significant health problems including pain, skin changes, and edema. It also causes chronic leg wounds known as venous stasis ulcers (VSU’s).

CVI is often caused by damage to the one-way valves in the veins in the legs. Damaged valves allow blood to flow backwards, increasing the pressure in the veins. The pressure causes fluid to leak out of the vein capillaries.

Edema accumulates, and can cause significant leg swelling. It slows oxygen and nutrient delivery to the tissues, while damage to blood vessels triggers inflammation.

Skin changes occur, including hardening (fibrosis), pigmentation, stasis dermatitis (itchy, flaky skin), and skin breakdown. Venous stasis ulcers develop.