A comparison of duplex ultrasound findings after cyanoacrylate embolization versus endovenous laser ablation of the great saphenous vein
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BACKGROUND: Whereas numerous studies have demonstrated noninferiority of cyanoacrylate embolization (CAE) relative to endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), little is known about the natural history of the vein or the glue that is implanted. This study provides the first description of duplex ultrasound changes of the great saphenous vein (GSV) after CAE relative to EVLA as well as a pragmatic view of outcomes in clinical practice. METHODS: Patients treated with CAE and EVLA at our institution were matched by time of procedure and vein size. GSV diameter was measured at the saphenofemoral junction, midthigh, and knee. Duplex ultrasound imaging was repeated after treatment in the same noninvasive laboratory with an identical protocol. Clinical data were collected by retrospective chart review. RESULTS: Of 481 eligible patients, 119 underwent postoperative duplex ultrasound imaging. Although there was a trend toward decreased vein diameter over time in CAE patients relative to their preoperative vein diameter, this failed to reach statistical significance at the midthigh (P = .32) or at the knee (P = .511). In EVLA patients, as follow-up interval increased, the vein was less frequently visualized on ultrasound at the midthigh (P = .046) and knee (P = .038). At >2 years of follow-up, >80% of EVLA patients had no visible vein segment. Anatomic recurrence was observed in 10.5% of CAE patients and 8.2% of EVLA patients, which was not statistically significantly different (P = .60). The majority of recurrence was observed in the presence of incompetent tributaries. CONCLUSIONS: After CAE of the GSV, our results indicate that the glue cast remains for at least 3 years. Although our results suggest that the glue is broken down over time, this process is much slower than expected. In contrast, after EVLA, the vein tissue is remodeled and is no longer visible with time. In our study, which represents a pragmatic clinical population with a large (median, 9.2 mm) vein diameter, we again demonstrate no statistically significant difference in recurrence rates. Whereas CAE offers an attractive treatment option for GSV incompetence, the glue cast remains for a prolonged time, and longer follow-up studies than those currently available are indicated.
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