The Vein Center at Dignity Health, YRMC

    Vein Disease

    Cardiovascular surgeons like the Vein Center's Saina Attaran, MD, understand the veins, vessels and valves that comprise the body's vascular system.  As a cardiovascular surgeon who treats patients at YRMC's James Family Heart Center, Dr. Attaran is uniquely qualified to lead YRMC's Vein Center.

    Varicose Veins

    Varicose veins are veins that have become weak, dilated and filled with blood. Varicose veins are typically a bluish, purple or red color. They also may be enlarged and bulging.
    Varicose veins are caused by chronic venous Insufficiency (CVI), or leaking valves. CVI – a progressive disease – occurs when the valves in the veins of the lower leg no longer function properly. This makes blood flow backward, which leads to enlarged or varicose veins as well as other painful symptoms. The most common causes of varicose veins include:
    • Age
    • Pregnancy
    • Family history
    • Standing or sitting for long periods
    Varicose veins are the most common vascular disease. More than half of people age 50 and older in the United States suffer from varicose veins. Although sometimes thought of as a cosmetic concern, often these veins are a sign of a larger complication called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
    You can't prevent varicose veins from forming, especially if you have a family history of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or vein disease. However, to help prevent varicose veins from getting worse, you can:
    • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
    • Elevate your legs above your heart when possible.
    • Consume a high-fiber, low-salt diet.
    • Engage in low-impact exercise like walking, cycling, or dancing.
    • Avoid high heels and hosiery with tight bands.
    • Wear medical grade compression stockings, as recommended by your physician.

    Spider Veins

    Spider veins are dilated veins located just under the surface of the skin. These red or blue veins – most often found on the legs – resemble spider webs or tree branches. While smaller than varicose veins, spider veins share some of the same causes and symptoms.
    Spider veins and varicose veins have similar causes. Healthy veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards as your body pumps blood back to the heart. When these valves don’t function properly, blood pools and the veins swell causing spider veins. Common causes of spider veins include:
    • Age
    • Pregnancy
    • Family history
    • Standing or sitting for long periods
    • Obesity
    • A history of blood clots
    • Birth control pills

    Chronic Venous Insufficiency

    If you have CVI, you may experience:
    • Swelling of the legs or ankles (edema)
    • Pain that gets worse as you stand and better when you raise your legs
    • Leg cramps
    • Aching, throbbing, or a feeling of heaviness in your legs
    • Itchy, burning or weak legs
    • Thickening of the skin on your legs or ankles
    • Skin discoloration, especially around the ankles
    • Leg ulcers
    • A feeling of tightness in your calves
    Women are more likely than men to experience CVI. Other factors that may increase your risk for CVI include:
    • Age
    • Pregnancy (or if you have been pregnant more than once)
    • Family history
    • Obesity
    • A history of blood clots
    • Smoking

    Deep Vein Thrombosis

    Deep vein thrombosis happens when a blood clot forms within a deep vein, usually in the legs. It’s also linked to medical conditions that cause blood to clot more easily than normal. People who are immobile for a long time or confined to bed are also at risk for deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis can lead to pulmonary embolism.
    Deep vein thrombosis can occur without noticeable signs, but common symptoms of the condition may include:
    • A swollen leg – Usually only one leg is involved
    • Leg pain – This typically starts in the calf and may feel like a cramp or soreness
    • Discolored skin on the leg
    • A feeling of warmth in the affected leg

    Pulmonary Embolism

    Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis. It occurs when a blood clot in a vein breaks loose, travels through the bloodstream and lodges in the lungs. If you develop signs of a pulmonary embolism, seek immediate medical attention. The warning signs include:
    • Sudden shortness of breath
    • Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
    • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
    • Rapid pulse
    • Coughing up blood

    Circulatory Issues and Wound Care

    Non-healing wounds are often caused by an underlying circulation issue in the leg or foot. These circulatory issues may be:
    • Arterial – Delivers oxygen and nutrients necessary to heal.
    • Venous – Removes toxins and fluids from the affected area.
    Non-healing leg wounds and ulcers fall into these categories:
    • Arterial Wounds – Complete or partial arterial blockage can lead to ulcers. If you have arterial disease, you may have tests to measure blood flow or to locate a blockage in your arteries.
    • Diabetic Wounds – If you have diabetes, you may be prone to foot ulcers caused by excessive pressure or rubbing against the skin. This can be caused by shoes that fit poorly or walking barefoot.
    • Venous Wounds – These ulcers are a symptom of venous disease. With this condition, blood pools in unhealthy veins. Venous ulcers often appear near the ankle and are painful.
    We offer a family of coordinated solutions to help our patients with non-healing leg ulcers caused by lack of circulation, diabetes and other medical issues. Those resources include:
    Advanced Wound Care at YRMC, located at the Dignity Health, YRMC Del E. Webb Outpatient Center.
    Diabetes Education, located at Dignity Health, YRMC Preventive Medicine and Wellness.
    • YRMC Providers who specialize in Infectious Diseases and Endocrinology.

    Compression Stockings

    Compression stockings are specially made, snug-fitting, stretchable socks that gently squeeze your legs. The stockings are tight around your ankle and loosen as they move up your leg. A mainstay treatment for varicose veins, compression stockings help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins and improve circulation. At the Vein Center at Dignity Health, YRMC, we fit patients for medical-grade compression stockings. We also sponsor a brief educational session on how to put your compression stockings on and the best ways to care for your compression stockings.