Varicose Veins: Diagnosis, Management, and Treatment

Sylvia Zhang, RN; Sheila Melander, PhD, ACNP-BC


Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2014;10(6):417-424. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Varicose veins are manifestations of chronic venous disease and affect over 20% of the United States adult population. The direct medical cost for chronic venous disease is estimated to be between $150 million and $1 billion annually in the US. Although usually thought to be no more than a cosmetic nuisance, varicose veins can be the source of more serious complications. This article is intended to aid the nurse practitioner in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins. Updated analysis of short- and long-term treatment outcomes from newer procedures are described.


Varicose veins of the lower limbs are dilated, tortuous, and palpable veins that are typically larger than 3 mm.[1,2] Varicosities are manifestations of chronic venous disease (CVD), which includes various other venous abnormalities, such as dilated intradermal veins, spider veins, reticular veins, and telangiectasia.[3] Although varicose veins have long been thought to be a simple cosmetic nuisance, they can actually be the source of more serious complications, including pain and discomfort that can lead to missed work days, a lower quality of life, and even the loss of a limb or life.[4]