• epidemiology;
  • population;
  • saphenous vein;
  • thrombosis;
  • venous thromboembolism



The incidence of superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) in the general adult population remains unknown.


To assess the annual diagnosis rate of symptomatic, objectively confirmed lower limb SVT, associated or not with concomitant deep vein thrombosis and/or symptomatic pulmonary embolism.


We conducted, from November 14, 2011, to November 13, 2012, a multicenter, community-based study in the Saint-Etienne urban area, France, representing a population of 265 687 adult residents (according to the 2009 census). All 248 general practitioners located within the area were asked to refer any patient with clinically suspected lower limb acute SVT to a vascular physician for systematic compression ultrasonography. All 28 vascular physicians located within the area participated in the study. The annual diagnosis rate, with the corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI), was calculated as the number of patients with symptomatic, objectively confirmed SVT divided by the number of person-years at risk defined by population data of the area. All venous thromboembolic events were validated by an independent central adjudication committee.


Overall, 171 patients with symptomatic, confirmed SVT were reported. The annual diagnosis rate was 0.64% (95% CI, 0.55%–0.74%), was higher in women, and increased with advancing age regardless of gender. Concomitant deep vein thrombosis (20 proximal) was observed in 42 patients (24.6% [95% CI, 18.3%–31.7%]), and concomitant symptomatic pulmonary embolism was observed in eight patients (4.7% [95% CI, 2.0%–9.0%]).


This first community-based study showed that symptomatic SVT with confirmed diagnosis is a relatively common disease frequently associated with thromboembolic events in the deep venous system.