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Keywords:

  • chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency;
  • echo colour Doppler;
  • iron metabolism;
  • multiple sclerosis

Background and purpose

A new treatable venous disorder, chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), has been proposed in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Its relationship with iron metabolism is suggested, but has not been examined prospectively.

Methods

We performed extra- and transcranial echo colour Doppler (ECD) in 90 patients with MS and 41 healthy controls (HC). Indices of iron metabolism and the presence of peripheral signs of impaired venous flow were also examined.

Results

The ECD examination showed CCSVI in 8 (9%) of the 90 patients with MS and 0 HC (P = 0.11). The 8 CCSVI-positive MS patients were older (P = 0.02), had less often relapsing–remitting-MS (P = 0.02) and had more neurological disability assessed by expanded disability status scale (EDSS, P = 0.001) and longer duration of disease (P = 0.02) in comparison with the 82 CCSVI-negative MS patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that EDSS remained an independent factor associated with CCSVI (odds ratio 1.89, 95%CI 1.17–3.05, P-value = 0.009). CCSVI MS patients more often had bilateral telangiectasia at the legs (P = 0.008), reticular veins (P = 0.006) and venous stasis dermatitis (P = 0.004). No relationship was found between CCSVI and impaired iron metabolism in patients with MS.

Conclusions

CCSVI is uncommon and is a secondary epiphenomenon in MS and related to more neurological disability and the presence of varicose veins at the legs.