Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the public in general has appreciated health care workers more than ever. Yard signs are still scattered about thanking these frontline caregivers. A recent study demonstrated that chronic vein disease is very common in these workers. This is in spite of the fact that they don’t have other cardiovascular comorbidities (i.e. heart or vascular conditions).
A large screening study of health care workers found that most hospital employees (a whopping 69%!) had signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This means that they complained of leg swelling and also potentially had pain, aching, heaviness, or skin changes of their lower extremities.
CVI accounts for a loss of approximately 2 million workdays per year and almost 12% of healthcare workers seek early retirement because of symptoms.
Left untreated, CVI can progress to a leg ulcer. The annual cost of venous ulcer care is estimated to be $3 billion.
Ultrasound screening on these employees revealed that 82% had venous reflux (blood going the wrong direction in their legs). Also, up to 14% were noted to have increased risk for blood clot!
Long story short…We really need to take care of our frontline health care workers and institute appropriate preventative strategies.