A venous reflux exam is a non-invasive diagnostic tool used to evaluate the efficiency of vein function, check for venous reflux and confirm or exclude a clinical diagnosis of venous valvular insufficiency.
There are two common non-invasive venous reflux exams that are used to diagnose venous valvular insufficiency, venous reflux and other vein-related conditions.
- The first is a simple, non-invasive exam using a sensor attached to the patient’s leg to measure the time it takes for blood to be pumped toward the heart and return to the ankle.
- The second common venous reflux exam consists of using ultrasound to map veins, determine the direction and velocity of blood flow, identify problematic veins and determine the level of function in the valves.
Venous reflux exam: what to expect
A venous reflux exam using a sensor is performed by attaching a sensor to the patient’s leg. The patient is then instructed to pump her or his foot up and down repeatedly to promote blood flow towards the heart. The sensor then measures the time it takes for the blood to be pumped upwards to the heart and return back to the ankle. The results of this exam are generally available a few days after the test is administered and will include measurements that allow your doctor or exam technician to determine how well the valves are working and to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of venous reflux or venous valvular insufficiency.
A venous reflux exam using ultrasound imaging can be performed with a handheld ultrasound wand used on both legs. Generally a complete duplex ultrasound exam will be conducted during the screening. The patient lies on a table while the exam administer applies a conductive gel and passes the wand over the area to be examined. During this exam, the reflection of sound waves is used to create images that will allow the physician to view veins and valves and determine the movement of blood. This exam generally takes between 40 minutes and one hour is both legs are evaluated.
A venous reflux examination is a non-invasive procedure that does not require a recovery period. Patients return to normal daily activities directly after receiving the exam with no downtime or aftercare.
Venous reflux exam: frequently asked questions
What are the advantages of a venous reflux exam over other similar procedures?
Venous reflux exams using ultrasound or sensors are less invasive than venography, arteriography and other diagnostic tools.
Who is a candidate for a venous reflux exam?
Candidates for venous reflux exams include patients who have been clinically diagnosed with venous reflux or venous valvular insufficiency or who are experiencing related symptoms, such as skin discoloration, feelings of heaviness or pain in the legs, chronic swelling, varicose veins or venous ulcers.
What will my results be like?
Your doctor will receive the results from your venous reflux exam within a few days after administering the examination and will then be able to formulate a treatment plan depending on the results.
What are the risks?
There are no risks or complications associated with this simple, non-invasive examination procedure.
Is the venous reflux exam procedure covered by insurance companies?
Because venous reflux exams are most often used to diagnose a medical condition, or to confirm a clinical diagnosis made by your physician, this procedure will be covered by medical insurance companies in most cases.
How much does a venous reflux exam cost?
The cost of a venous reflux examination will vary depending on geographical location, provider fees, insurance coverage and where the test is performed, such as in an imaging center or in a physician’s office.
Updated: October 6, 2014