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How to objectively assess jugular primary venous obstruction

Paolo Zamboni
  • Paolo Zamboni
    Department of Morphology, Surgery, and Experimental Medicine; Vascular Diseases Center and Section of Translational Medicine and Surgery, University of Ferrara, Italy |


Last January The Lancet published the article by Traboulsee et al. Prevalence of extracranial venous narrowing on catheter venography in people with multiple sclerosis, their sibilings, and unrelated healthy controls: a blinded, case control study. These Authors confirmed the presence of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency with a high prevalence of about 70% in the Canadian population, but without significant differences between patients and healthy controls, yet. However, they used a criterion never published to assess stenosis, in alternative to the classic measurement of the diameter in the segment immediately preceding the narrowest point. Traboulsee et al. measure the stenosis along the entire length of the internal jugular vein, by comparing the maximum diameter with the narrowest point. It has been demonstrated, from normal anatomy findings, how the jugular bulb diameter normally exceeds 50% of the minimum diameter of the internal jugular vein, clearly showing the reason why Traboulsee et al. did not find significant differences between people with multiple sclerosis, their sibilings, and unrelated healthy controls. Furthermore, as the outcome measure of Traboulsee et al., wall stenosis is a neglected part of primary venous obstruction, because in the majority of cases obstruction is the consequence of intraluminal obstacles, as a considerable part of truncular venous malformations, and/or compression; rarely of external hypoplasia. Finally, several recently published methods can be adopted for objective assessment of restricted jugular flow in course of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, by the means of non invasive magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and plethysmography. This may help us in improving the assessment of cerebral venous return in the near future.


jugular primary venous obstruction, editorial.

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Submitted: 2014-05-27 11:37:41
Published: 2014-12-21 14:58:50
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