A New Way to Help Patients Understand Vein Disease

As a physician and instructor in the field of vascular health, I often look for tools that provide the easiest way for me to explain vein disease to my patients. Many of my patients have limited knowledge of the circulatory system, so I look for ways that make it easier for them to understand what is happening inside their body. Sometimes it is difficult to find a medical explanation that is appropriate for patients. Something that is accurate, yet at the same time, both visually interesting and easy to understand.

The SIGVARIS Phlebo app for iPad allows me to have both an accurate tool that is easy to access and appropriate for most patients. It offers an interactive view of the circulatory system that I have been able to put to use in all of my clinics and at the Vein Expert Training Academy (VETA) in South Florida. This app presents the circulatory system with a focus on veins. Each section of the vein is identified and highlighted, so I can discuss specifics while viewing the “big picture” with my patient. It is easy to demonstrate, and frequently, I have patients who download it for free, so they can show their family and friends.

For example, if a patient has a problem that affects the Posterior Accessory Saphenous Vein, Femoral Vein, Popliteal Vein, Great Saphenous Vein, Anterior Tibial Veins, Small Saphenous Vein or Posterior Tibial Veins, I can simply click on it, and my patient can get a clearer understanding of how the veins look within their own bodies. As the veins are selected, the app highlights them and shows blood flowing within those veins inside the human body.

The app also has video animations of various medical conditions including deep vein thrombosis, spider veins, varicose veins, edema and leg ulcers. Because these are medical conditions I see quite often, it’s nice to show patients what these medical terms mean. It is also a way to show a patient how venous disease may progress if not taken care of. The use of this app allows my nurse and PA to also use it during patient education consultations as well.

I have been able to show several patients how a blood clot forms as well as the exact veins that have been affected by venous insufficiency. As a clinical instructor at the VETA, I have also been able to share this app with other physicians who have found it useful. I have embedded it in my presentations, so when I am lecturing, I have use of this technology as well.

In addition to anatomy and medical video footage, the SIGVARIS Phlebo app also highlights how graduated compression stockings can aid in helping to improve overall circulation by providing a close-up look at how these garments work from the outside in. Showing that there is a medical reason to wear the graduated compression stocking I prescribe has helped increase compliance in many of my patients. Because of this increased compliance, we believe our outcomes are even better in the demanding South Beach population. In my office we take prescribing compression stockings very seriously and have become “Certified Fitters”, another educational offering from SIGVARIS. Along with the helpful tool from the Phlebo App, we have found that our patients have been much more satisfied with our entire compression stocking process.

The new app is offered in four languages: English, Portuguese, German and French. (I hope SIGVARIS will consider adding Spanish in the future.) It is available for free in the Apple iPad App Store, https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/sigvaris-phlebo-app/id781407362?mt=8. Check it out and put it to work in your practice.