Minimally Invasive Creation of Autologous Venous Valves for the Treatment of Deep Venous Insufficiency

Stanford University, 2010 - $19,973

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) of the deep veins is a disease in which patients suffer from poor circulation in their lower extremities due to non-functional valves. Over the long-term this condition can lead to varicose veins, skin discoloration, leg pain and debilitating leg ulcers. Currently, severe symptoms due to CVI develop in over six million Americans annually; this number is expected to rise as the population ages and obesity becomes more prevalent.
 
The typical treatment for CVI—a combination of compression stockings and wound care—has extremely poor compliance rates. Open surgical valve repair is rarely used because of its highly invasive nature.
 
This team is developing a minimally invasive, catheter-based solution for deep vein CVI. The catheter is inserted into the patient’s venous system and advanced to the incompetent vein, where the physician then actuates the catheter to form a version of a natural vein valve. Once the valve is created, blood flows upward freely past the new valve, and at the end of the pumping cycle, blood fills the newly created sinus pocket, causing the flap to close against the vein wall and creating a temporary watertight seal. In this way, vein competency is permanently restored without the need for an implant or invasive surgery.