Sunday, 11 August 2013

Varicose veins need a team approach - NICE guidelines

Traditionally, many doctors assess varicose veins by themselves. Sometimes they just look and examine the patient. More often they use a hand-held Doppler device to listen to the veins. Over the last 5 to 10 years, it has become clear that anything less than a full duplex ultrasound scan will miss problems and would lead to suboptimal treatment in a large proportion of patients.

Of course this means that to get the best results, patients not only need to have a duplex ultrasound scan of their veins, but it needs to be done by an expert.

Doctors who treat veins need to have many skills including talking to patients, examining them, operating and have many other demands on their time outside of the clinical room. If the same doctors try to scan their patients as well, not surprisingly it is unlikely that they will be anywhere near as good as a dedicated vascular technologist who does nothing but vein scans every working day.

This has been the view of The Whiteley Clinic since 1999 and all of our courses have always taught that scan should be done by dedicated ultrasound technicians (or indeed radiologists or other trained vascular scientists provided they only do vein ultrasound scanning) who support the doctors assessing and treating the patients.

Although this has been popular with many areas of the medical community, it has been a great relief to find that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines are fully support The Whiteley Clinic's position.

From now on, all patients with varicose veins, leg ulcers or any other venous problems covered by this guidance should be referred to a multidisciplinary team for assessment and treatment.

Read the NICE guidelines at:

See commentary:

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