BACKGROUND: A variety of techniques exist for the treatment of patients with great saphenous vein (GSV) varicosities. Few data exist on the long term outcomes of these interventions.
METHODS: Patients undergoing conventional surgery, endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) for GSV varicose veins were followed up for 5 years. Primary outcome was obliteration or absence of the treated GSV segment; secondary outcomes were absence of GSV reflux, and change in Chronic Venous Insufficiency quality of life Questionnaire (CIVIQ) and EuroQol – 5D (EQ 5D™) scores.
RESULTS: A total of 224 legs were included (69 conventional surgery, 78 EVLA, 77 UGFS), 193 (86·2 per cent) of which were evaluated at final follow up. At 5 years, Kaplan–Meier estimates of obliteration or absence of the GSV were 85 (95 per cent c.i. 75 to 92), 77 (66 to 86) and 23 (14 to 33) per cent in the conventional surgery, EVLA and UGFS groups respectively. Absence of above knee GSV reflux was found in 85 (73 to 92), 82 (72 to 90) and 41 (30 to 53) per cent respectively. CIVIQ scores deteriorated over time in patients in the UGFS group (0·98 increase per year, 95 per cent c.i. 0·16 to 1·79), and were significantly worse than those in the EVLA group (−0·44 decrease per year, 95 per cent c.i. −1·22 to 0·35) (P = 0·013). CIVIQ scores for the conventional surgery group did not differ from those in the EVLA and UGFS groups (0·44 increase per year, 95 per cent c.i. −0·41 to 1·29). EQ 5D™ scores improved equally in all groups.
CONCLUSIONS: EVLA and conventional surgery were more effective than UGFS in obliterating the GSV 5 years after intervention. UGFS was associated with substantial rates of GSV reflux and inferior CIVIQ scores compared with EVLA and conventional surgery. Registration number: NCT00529672