The 2020 appropriate use criteria for chronic lower extremity venous disease of the American Venous Forum, the Society for Vascular Surgery, the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, and the Society of Interventional Radiology.
BACKGROUND : Stimulated by published reports of potentially inappropriate application of venous procedures, the American Venous Forum and its Ethics Task Force in collaboration with multiple other professional societies including the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), American Vein and Lymphatic Society (AVLS), and the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) developed the appropriate use criteria (AUC) for chronic lower extremity venous disease to provide clarity to the application of venous procedures, duplex ultrasound imaging, timing, and reimbursements. METHODS : The AUC were developed using the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method, a validated method of developing appropriateness criteria in health care. By conducting a modified Delphi exercise and incorporating best available evidence and expert opinion, AUC were developed and scored. RESULTS : There were 119 scenarios rated on a scale of 1 to 9 by an expert panel, with 1 being never appropriate and 9 being appropriate. The majority of scenarios consisted of symptomatic indications were deemed appropriate for venous intervention. For scenarios with anatomically short segments of reflux and/or no symptoms, the indications were rated less appropriate. For the indication of edema, a wide dispersion of ratings was observed especially for short segments of saphenous reflux or stenting for iliac/ inferior vena cava disease, noting that there are multifactorial causes of edema, some of which could coexist with venous disease and possibly impact effectiveness of treatment. Several scenarios were considered never appropriate, including treatment of saphenous veins with no reflux, iliac vein or inferior vena cava stenting for iliac vein compression as an incidental finding by imaging with minimal or no symptoms or signs, and incentivizing sonographers to find reflux. CONCLUSIONS : The AUC statements are intended to serve as a guide to patient care, particularly in areas where high-quality evidence is lacking to aid clinicians in making day-to-day decisions for common venous interventions. This may also prove useful when applied on a population level, such as practice patterns, and not necessarily to dictate decision making for individual cases. As a product of a collaborative effort, it is hoped that this could be utilized by physicians and multiple stakeholders committed toward improving patient care and to identify and stimulate future research priorities.