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Classification of lower extremity chronic venous disorders

Greg Moneta, MD
Section Editors
John F Eidt, MD
Joseph L Mills, Sr, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Collins, MD, PhD, FACS


Lower extremity chronic venous disorders encompass an entire spectrum of morphologic and functional abnormalities of the venous system. They can present in childhood as congenital lesions or acquired disorders which by adulthood are quite common. Vein-related problems may or may not be symptomatic and include a wide range of clinical signs varying from minimal superficial venous dilation to edema and/or chronic skin changes with ulceration and even so-called venous claudication.

An overview of the Clinical-Etiology-Anatomy-Pathophysiology (CEAP) classification of lower extremity chronic venous disorders will be presented here. An overview of the clinical evaluation and management of lower extremity chronic venous disease is presented elsewhere. (See "Overview and management of lower extremity chronic venous disease".)


Standard definitions for venous diagnosis have been adopted by international consensus [1].

Chronic venous disorders — This term includes the full spectrum of morphological and functional abnormalities of the venous system.

Chronic venous disease — The term chronic venous disease is used when morphological or functional abnormalities (venous valvular incompetence or venous obstruction) are present of long duration and manifested as symptoms and/or signs indicating the need for treatment and/or further investigation. Venous valvular incompetence is identified by duplex ultrasound as retrograde venous flow of abnormal duration. (See "Diagnostic evaluation of lower extremity chronic venous insufficiency".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 19, 2017.
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