Chronic venous insufficiency


00:00 / 00:00



Chronic venous insufficiency

Cardiovascular system

Vascular disorders

Arterial disease

Angina pectoris

Stable angina

Unstable angina

Myocardial infarction

Prinzmetal angina

Coronary steal syndrome

Peripheral artery disease

Subclavian steal syndrome


Aortic dissection


Behcet's disease

Kawasaki disease


Hypertensive emergency

Renal artery stenosis

Coarctation of the aorta

Cushing syndrome

Conn syndrome


Polycystic kidney disease


Orthostatic hypotension


Familial hypercholesterolemia



Chronic venous insufficiency


Deep vein thrombosis




Vascular tumors

Human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi sarcoma)


Congenital heart defects

Truncus arteriosus

Transposition of the great vessels

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return

Tetralogy of Fallot

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Patent ductus arteriosus

Ventricular septal defect

Coarctation of the aorta

Atrial septal defect

Cardiac arrhythmias

Atrial flutter

Atrial fibrillation

Premature atrial contraction

Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

Ventricular tachycardia

Brugada syndrome

Premature ventricular contraction

Long QT syndrome and Torsade de pointes

Ventricular fibrillation

Atrioventricular block

Bundle branch block

Pulseless electrical activity

Valvular disorders

Tricuspid valve disease

Pulmonary valve disease

Mitral valve disease

Aortic valve disease


Dilated cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Heart failure

Heart failure

Cor pulmonale

Cardiac infections



Rheumatic heart disease

Pericardial disorders

Pericarditis and pericardial effusion

Cardiac tamponade

Dressler syndrome

Cardiac tumors

Cardiac tumors

Cardiovascular system pathology review

Acyanotic congenital heart defects: Pathology review

Cyanotic congenital heart defects: Pathology review

Atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis: Pathology review

Coronary artery disease: Pathology review

Peripheral artery disease: Pathology review

Valvular heart disease: Pathology review

Cardiomyopathies: Pathology review

Heart failure: Pathology review

Supraventricular arrhythmias: Pathology review

Ventricular arrhythmias: Pathology review

Heart blocks: Pathology review

Aortic dissections and aneurysms: Pathology review

Pericardial disease: Pathology review

Endocarditis: Pathology review

Hypertension: Pathology review

Shock: Pathology review

Vasculitis: Pathology review

Cardiac and vascular tumors: Pathology review

Dyslipidemias: Pathology review


Chronic venous insufficiency


0 / 24 complete

High Yield Notes

9 pages


Chronic venous insufficiency

of complete


Content Reviewers

Rishi Desai, MD, MPH


Tanner Marshall, MS

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted, and this most commonly happens in the veins of the leg.

How do they form? Well - the arterial circulation, going away from the heart, is a high pressure system, meaning the movement of blood is dependent on high pressures that essentially push it through the arteries, on the order of 120 mmHg.

The venous circulation going back to the heart, on the other hand, is a low-pressure system with a central venous pressure around 5mm Hg.

This means that the movement of blood has to rely heavily on what’s called the skeletal muscle pump, which is just a way of saying that it relies on the contraction of surrounding skeletal muscles, which compresses the vein and propels blood through the vessels.

But let’s think about the veins in the legs when you’re standing, now to get to the heart the blood has to go up, right, which is working against gravity.

So if your calf muscles contract and squeeze the blood inside, some blood gets propelled downward, while some gets propelled upward, but then gravity pushes that upward-moving blood back down, and it doesn’t seem like much gets accomplished...and it wouldn’t, but that’s not the whole story—most veins also have one-way valves.

These valves only let blood move in one direction, toward the heart.

So now, as the skeletal muscles contract, it squeezes the veins, and this lower valve stays closed to prevent blood from going downward, while the upper valve lets blood through, but even though gravity wants to push it back down, that blood isn’t allowed to fall back down through the upper valve, right?

For some people, the downward gravitational pull on blood causes the walls of the leg veins to stretch apart over time, which tends to also pull apart those valves.

If these valves fail to close properly, they can allow blood to leak backward and pool in the veins, which can lead to more valves stretching out and failing.

The veins have now become varicose veins, and from this additional blood, they start becoming tortuous, or twisted.


  1. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Twentieth Edition (Vol.1 & Vol.2)" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "Truncal varicose vein diameter and patient-reported outcome measures" British Journal of Surgery (2017)
  5. "Standard varicose vein surgery" Phlebology: The Journal of Venous Disease (2009)
  6. "Varicose Vein: Current Management" Advances in Surgery (2011)

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, except certain content provided by third parties

Cookies are used by this site.

USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.