Varicose veins in the United States are a common problem. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 30% of the adult population have these irritating veins. Unfortunately, many physicians believe that these are only a cosmetic problem, especially when they care for an elderly patient. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Varicose veins are frequently associated with significant symptoms that cause many “functional” limitations. In other words, people have a problem carrying out their typical activities of daily living. It becomes difficult to do yard work, housework, or even to go shopping!
Furthermore, quality of life studies reveals that people with varicose veins often have scores (how they rate their quality of life) that are similar to those who have had prior heart attack, stroke, or a fractured hip. It’s a serious problem.
With this in mind, there was an interesting study that looked at how octogenarians did after vein ablation (closing a vein down) and compared them to younger patients. Of note, those who were over the age of 80 typically had far more cardiovascular co-morbidities (heart and vascular conditions). They also usually had more severe vein disease compared to their younger buddies.
So how did the octogenarians fare? Drum roll please… They did just as well as the youngsters. It was shown that vein ablation is both safe and effective in the elderly. Thus, age should not be used as a factor to deny these patients the care they deserve.
Safety and efficacy of venous ablation in octogenarians. Aurshina et al.
Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders, September 2019; p 685-692