Q. I have been advised endoscopy for Barrett's esophagus. I am scared of the sedation because I have varicose veins.

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 06, 2015 and last reviewed on: Jan 04, 2019

Hello doctor,

I have been recently diagnosed with varicose veins in my left leg. I also have multiple heart problems which are right bundle branch block, bicuspid aortic valve, high blood pressure, and patent foramen ovale. I also have Barrett's esophagus and this week, I am going in for an endoscopy at a local hospital. I have had endoscopies before but, I recently saw in the news that someone passed away from a recent endoscopy. I am scared because the varicose veins are from my upper leg to my foot and are pretty gross looking. My vascular doctors' group have made me wear a compressed stocking, but I notice some new veins bulging or surfacing.

I do not know if I should or should not wear the compressed stocking when I go for the endoscopy. I am concerned because even though these are superficial veins, they help pump the blood back to the heart, and I do not know what will happen when the sedative is injected intravenously. I guess I am just nervous because there is a new symptom to me. I have attached a photo of the side of my left leg where the vein is bulging in the front of my leg in front of my shin and across my ankle. It is very painful at times, however when I lay down the veins disappear. Please advise.

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read through your query in detail. Please find my observations below.

I can see that your leg has developed varicose veins (attachment removed to protect patient identity). This happens due to back flow of blood into the superficial venous system of the legs. Wearing a compression stocking will maintain the forward flow, but this is not a permanent solution.

In patients with varicose veins, a venous doppler study of the affected lower limb is recommended, and this will tell the competency of the saphenofemoral junction (at the groin) and the saphenopopliteal junction (at the knee) which are the main valves that regulate the blood flow from the superficial to the deep venous system. Any collateral veins with incompetent perforators will also be known. Latest techniques involve laser ablation of the veins involved, and this prevents any complications of varicose veins. I guess your vascular doctor might have told you about varicose veins in detail.

The endoscopy procedure can be done without any increased risk due to varicose veins. The sedative injection will not cause any problems due to varicose veins. So, you need not worry about that. Please be assured that the person who passed away during endoscopy might have had a different reason or underlying illness due to which the patient was unable to tolerate the procedure. Please stay calm and go for the procedure without hesitation.

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