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Systematic review and meta-analysis of endovascular and surgical revascularization for patients with chronic lower extremity venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

Vemulapalli S, Parikh K, Coeytaux R, Hasselblad V, McBroom A, Johnston A, Raitz G, Crowley MJ, Lallinger KR, Jones WS, Sanders GD. Systematic review and meta-analysis of endovascular and surgical revascularization for patients with chronic lower extremity venous insufficiency and varicose veins. American heart journal. 2018 Feb 1; 196:131-143.

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BACKGROUND: Chronic lower extremity venous disease (LECVD) is twice as prevalent as coronary heart disease, and invasive therapies to treat LECVD accounted for an estimated $290 million in Medicare expenditures in 2015. Despite increasing use of these invasive therapies, their comparative effectiveness is unknown. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of treatments for patients (symptomatic and asymptomatic) with lower extremity varicosities and/or lower extremity chronic venous insufficiency/incompetence/reflux. We searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for relevant English-language studies published from January 2000 to July 2016. We included comparative randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with > 20 patients and observational studies with > 500 patients. Short-, intermediate-, and long-term outcomes of placebo, mechanical compression therapy, and invasive therapies (surgical and endovascular) were included. Quality ratings and evidence grading was performed. Random-effects models were used to compute summary estimates of effects. RESULTS: We identified a total of 57 studies representing 105,878 enrolled patients, including 53 RCTs comprised of 10,034 patients. Among the RCTs, 16 were good quality, 28 were fair quality, and 9 were poor quality. Allocation concealment, double blinding, and reporting bias were inadequately addressed in 25 of 53 (47%), 46 of 53 (87%), and 15 of 53 (28.3%), respectively. Heterogeneity in therapies, populations, and/or outcomes prohibited meta-analysis of comparisons between different endovascular therapies and between endovascular intervention and placebo/compression. Meta-analysis evaluating venous stripping plus ligation (high ligation/stripping) compared with radiofrequency ablation revealed no difference in short-term bleeding (odds ratio [OR] = 0.30, 95% CI -0.16 to 5.38, P = .43) or reflux recurrence at 1-2 years (OR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.37-1.55, P = .44). Meta-analysis evaluating high ligation/stripping versus endovascular laser ablation revealed no difference in long-term symptom score (OR 0.02, 95% CI -0.19 to 0.23, P = .84) or quality of life at 2 years (OR 0.06, 95% CI -0.12 to 0.25, P = .50). CONCLUSIONS: The paucity of high-quality comparative effectiveness and safety data in LECVD is concerning given the overall rise in endovascular procedures. More high-quality studies are needed to determine comparative effectiveness and guide policy and practice.

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