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What is Venous Stasis?

Venous stasis is a condition in which the rate of blood flow in the veins reduces. This can cause blood to pool in the veins of the lower limbs and can lead to swelling and discoloration. As pressure builds up, fluid from the blood vessels may enter the tissues causing irritation and break down with ulcer formation. Venous stasis is more common in those above the age of 50 and usually affects women.

Causes of Venous Stasis

Different conditions that may cause venous stasis include:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency due to poor function of the valves in the veins
  • Blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Muscle weakness
  • Leg injury or trauma
  • Obesity
  • Congestive heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Long periods of immobility from bed rest or hospitalization


Symptoms of venous stasis include:

  • Pain and itchy legs
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • Skin thickening in the legs or ankles
  • Ulcers in the lower limbs
  • Feeling of tightness in your calves
  • Feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Varicose veins

Diagnosis of Venous Stasis

Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. Diagnostic tests that may be recommended include:

  • Venogram: This is used to diagnose abnormalities of the veins. A contrast dye is infused into the veins (intravenously), turning the blood vessels opaque on the X-ray. This provides your doctor with a clearer image.
  • Duplex ultrasound: This test uses high-frequency sound waves to show the speed and direction of blood flow in the veins.


Treatments for venous stasis and associated symptoms include:

  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Keeping your feet elevated whenever possible
  • Exercising regularly
  • Medication to help improve blood flow and reduce pain and inflammation
  • Surgical repair of veins or valves
  • Covering ulcers and treating them to avoid infection and promote healing
  • Surgery to remove dead or infected tissue
  • Tissue grafting to cover areas of severe damage.


Venous stasis can be prevented by:

  • Use of compression stockings
  • Regular exercise which promotes circulation.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Taking breaks to avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods

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