Mercy Vascular Surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas Addresses Venous Insufficiency On "The Woman's Doctor"

January 17, 2011
Mercy vascular surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas

Mercy vascular surgeon Dr. Paul Lucas

Roughly 8 million to 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from an uncomfortable condition called venous insufficiency, which can affect people who stand for long periods of time, such as nurses or teachers.

According to Dr. Paul Lucas of Mercy's Vascular Center, venous insufficiency is a buildup of pressure going down the legs.

"It can be as mild as achiness, with or without swelling, and one leg may swell more than another," he said.

Lucas said the condition is caused by leaky valves in the legs.

"When the heart beats, the valve opens, and the blood moves in an upward direction. When the heart is at rest, the valve closes, preventing reflux of blood back down the leg," he explained. "There is a failure of the valves to fully close when the heart is at rest, which causes reflux of blood back down the veins through the valve, which increases pressure in the lower part of the leg."

He said the treatment is often simple -- avoid long sessions of sitting or standing and wear compression stockings.

"I'm on my feet a lot, so I wear these stockings. It helps give my legs support and makes them feel better and not as tired," said Cheryl, who's been a nurse for 25 years.

While most patients with venous insufficiency are women, men can also have problems with it.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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