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Thursday, May 17, 2012
A fast-acting glue is being hailed as a breakthrough treatment for varicose veins.
VenaSeal is injected into diseased veins so blood is re-routed into healthier veins. Quicker than existing treatments, it requires less local anaesthetic, and patients can immediately resume normal activities, specialists claim.
Clinical trials of the medical adhesive, developed by US-based firm Sapheon, have so far yielded a 100% success rate.
Now a Europe-wide study on 120 patients is being led by specialists at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College, London.
Professor Alun Davies, who has treated 12 patients with his colleague Ian Franklin at Charing Cross Hospital, said: "It does seem to work.
"So far it has been very straightforward and all the patients have been fine. One had a complication of inflammation on the skin but that soon settled down.
"However, these are very early results, and how it will compare with other procedures longer-term is difficult to tell."
Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves that stop the body from pumping blood up the legs against gravity.
The VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System involves injecting tiny amounts of a specially formulated non-toxic medical adhesive directly into diseased veins using a very fine catheter guided by ultrasound.
It seals shut the inner walls of the vein so that blood is re-routed through healthier veins.
Dr Rodney Raabe, Sapheon’s chief medical officer and the consultant radiologist who invented VenaSeal, said: "Patients are not required to wear compression stockings afterwards because compression is not part of the action used to close the vein."
London taxi driver Peter Bryant, 73, underwent the procedure in March at Charing Cross. Mr Bryant, who had suffered four bouts of the infection in as many months, said: "I went for the new treatment because I could be seen within a few days.
"It was marvellous. I lay on a tilted bed with my feet about two feet higher than my head. Then they put the glue in; I couldn’t really see what was going on but I didn’t feel any pain.
"Afterwards they put some plasters on my leg and I had to sit down with my leg raised for half an hour to rest it.
"The whole visit was over in an hour and I walked out feeling absolutely fine with just very slight bruising that soon disappeared."
Dr Haroun Gajraj, a vascular surgeon, said: "I need to be sure this new technique will stand the test of time, but I’m certainly impressed by the science behind it and the results so far."
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