Recent posts

What Are the Advantages of Venefit?

Varicose veins affect up to 35 percent of Americans, and those with a family history of the condition are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, reports the Society for Vascular Surgery. While surgical removal of varicose veins is available, it can lead to scarring and extensive recovery periods. However, a newer, more effective treatment, known as Venefit, offers significant advantages over other treatment options.

Venefit™ Has a Lower Risk of Injury to Surrounding Tissues.

The procedure uses radio frequency (RF) energy to heat collagen in veins, resulting in their shrinkage. Unlike laser ablation, the amount of heat produced is restricted to a smaller treatment area, reducing the risk of damage to nearby tissues and gently causing the vein to collapse, asserts Medscape. In addition, RF energy puts out less heat, eliminating the development of a steam bubble in the vein, which further reduces risk of complications.

The Procedure Takes Less Time to Complete Than Other Treatment Options.

During this procedure, the physician administers a local anesthetic and saline in the affected leg. Afterward, a catheter is inserted to administer the RF energy. As a result, the procedure takes less time to complete than surgical treatment options.

A Faster Recovery Time Defines the Procedure.

Traditional treatments for varicose veins may lead to hospitalization and an extensive recovery period. Although individuals undergoing this treatment may need to avoid standing for prolonged periods or strenuous activities for a few weeks after the procedure, they rarely experience side effects, such as mild pain or bruising. However, any development of pain or bruising typically resolves within two weeks.

Get the Vein Treatment You Need Without the Hassle of Surgery Today.

The Venefit™ procedure is a safer, ideal treatment option for all ages and genders. Of course, each person is different, so a thorough venous insufficiency evaluation is necessary to determine your candidacy for the procedure. Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart and Vein Care can help you find out more about the causes of your varicose veins, conduct your evaluation and determine which vein treatment option is best for you. To get started on the path to less pain and discomfort from varicose veins, request your appointment online, or call 1 (805) 979-4777 today.

What to Expect After a Sclerotherapy Procedure

Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels.  Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it was successful.

How Sclerotherapy Gets Rid of Unwanted Veins

To perform this treatment, a physician injects a special substance known as a sclerosant into each targeted abnormal blood vessel.  In some cases, the use of ultrasound precisely guides the doctor during the session.

The chemicals in the sclerosant irritate the lining of the vein, causing the walls to become swollen, to adhere to each other, and to finally collapse.  Eventually, the treated vessel becomes scar tissue and disappears.  Healthy remaining veins nearby assume its circulatory workload.

This is an outpatient procedure usually performed in a physician’s office or in a vein clinic.  The number of sessions required depends on the size and the location of the vessels selected plus the overall health of the patient.  A session typically lasts 45 minutes or less.

What to Expect After This Vein Treatment

The Cleveland Clinic reports that it is possible to eliminate 50 to 80 percent of veins injected during a single session.  More than 90 percent of individuals respond positively to the injections.

When the procedure targets spider veins, patients can expect to see results in 3 to 6 weeks.  The interval for a response for larger vessels is between 3 and 4 months.

The physician will apply compression and massage the area treated immediately after withdrawing the needle used for the injection.  The Mayo Clinic explains that this helps disperse the sclerosant and prevent blood from entering the treated vein.

Most patients experience little discomfort during a session.  A cramping sensation that lasts up to two minutes is not uncommon during a varicose vein injection, according to the Radiological Society of North America, Inc.

After treatment, the staff encourages patients to walk around as soon as possible to avoid blood clots.  Discharge orders include wearing compression stockings or wraps for a specified period.

Patients usually go home shortly after treatment.  By the following day, most are able to go back to work and return to their normal daily routines, with the exception of exercise and any strenuous exertion.

The Mayo Clinic notes that patients will want to avoid exposing all treated areas to sunlight for a period specified by the physician.  This is because the inflammatory response the injections cause can create dark spots on the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, particularly in individuals born with dark skin.

Patients should realize that no treatment will prevent the formation of new spider or varicose veins.  For this reason, some individuals opt to return for additional vein treatment when new abnormal vessels develop.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Heart disease a serious condition that can increase your risk of serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. If you have heart disease, you need to seek treatment from a cardiologist as soon as possible. Below is some information to help you understand heart disease and recognize the symptoms so you can catch it as early as possible.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a group of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. However, the most common form of heart disease is cardiovascular disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries. This plaque narrows the arteries and restricts or blocks the flow of blood, which leads to heart attack and other complications.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Some of the symptoms of heart disease may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Pain in the back, upper abdomen, throat, jaw or neck

Some people with heart disease in its earliest stages may not experience any symptoms.

How is heart disease diagnosed?

To diagnose heart disease, your cardiologist begins by reviewing your medical history and performing a thorough physical exam. Depending on the results of this part of the process, as well as your symptoms and level of risk, the cardiologist may recommend additional tests. Some of the most common tests used to diagnose heart disease include heart ultrasound, stress tests, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization and heart monitoring. 

Based on the results of the tests ordered, your cardiologist will determine whether you have heart disease. If you do have signs of heart disease, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment.

What should I do if I have symptoms of heart disease?

If you have any symptoms of heart disease, you should see a cardiologist as soon as possible for diagnosis and possible treatment. Please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist.

 

What to Do if Heart Disease Runs in Your Family

If heart disease runs in your family, you may be nervous about your chances of developing this condition. However, having a family history of heart disease doesn't necessarily mean you will have a heart problem. Nonetheless, you need to be vigilant and proactive to protect your heart and remain as healthy as possible throughout your life. 

About Heart Disease 

Heart disease encompasses a number of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. However, when the term "heart disease" is used, it's most often referring to cardiovascular disease, which is a condition that involves blocked or narrow blood vessels. If left untreated, cardiovascular disease can lead to chest pain, heart attack and stroke. 

How to Protect Yourself

A family history of heart disease isn't the only risk factor that can make this condition more likely. Other risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, obesity and poor hygiene. Minimizing or eliminating any of these risk factors can help to protect you from heart disease. 

Even with no risk factors aside from your family history, heart disease is still a possibility. For this reason, it is important to see a cardiologist regularly if you are at risk for heart disease. Your cardiology doctor will monitor the health of your heart over time and look for any signs of heart disease. He or she will also be able to prescribe appropriate treatments and/or recommend lifestyle changes to deal with any heart problems you may develop. 

How do cardiologists evaluate the heart?

Your cardiologist may perform a variety of tests to evaluate your heart function, depending on any symptoms you are experiencing, as well as your level of risk. Some of the tests cardiologists order to evaluate heart function include:

  • EKG
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Blood tests
  • Stress test 
  • Holter monitoring

Your cardiologist will let you know which of these tests you need, as well as the purpose of each test. 

If you are concerned about the possibility of heart disease, please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to make an appointment. 

Factors That Determine What Vein Treatment Options You are Offered

In the past, patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins were limited to only one or two treatment options. Thanks to advances in technology, vein doctors now no longer have such limited vein treatment options. Today, treatment for varicose or spider veins is often less painful, more effective, and less invasive than the limited treatment options that were available in the past.

Currently, there are half a dozen different treatment options that are available to patients who are looking for treatment of varicose or spider veins. Doctors take a number of different factors into consideration when providing treatment recommendations.

Factors That Help Determine Your Vein Treatment Options

Vein doctors look at several key factors when trying to come up with various treatment options for you.

The things vein doctors take into consideration include:

  • Type of veins that need to be treated such as spider veins, varicose veins, or reticular veins
  • Location of the spider or varicose veins
  • Size of the varicose or spider veins
  • Previous attempted treatments
  • Health history

All of this information will be obtained by asking you a series of questions as well as conducting a brief exam. You will typically be asked about what symptoms you are experiencing, pain levels, and the previous history of varicose or spider veins.

In some cases, a Doppler ultrasound may be ordered. Doppler ultrasounds allow doctors to obtain detailed information about your condition. The results of the Doppler ultrasound will allow your vein doctor to determine the overall health and structure of your veins, as well as determine if a blood clot may be present.

Examples of Treatment Options for Your Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

Once your vein doctor has assessed your individual situation, he or she will provide you with a list of treatment recommendations. Typically, vein doctors will try to recommend treatments that are the least invasive, yet most effective.

Some vein treatment options that may be recommended to you when trying to treat your varicose veins or spider veins include:

  • ClosureFast – a radiofrequency ablation treatment
  • ClariVeinIC
  • VenaSeal
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Ambulatory Phlebecotmy
  • Varithena

Other treatment options may be offered depending upon your condition.

Choose a Vein Doctor That Creates Customized Treatment Plans

Treatment for problematic veins will vary from individual to individual. It is important that you visit a vein clinic that will create customized treatment plans based off of your individual needs.

A Specialized Vein Doctor Is Your Best Option for the Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

Cosmetic Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose veins and spider veins are never a welcome sight. These unsightly monsters can add years to skin that otherwise appears smooth, even, and youthful. Thick and bulging, varicose veins often stick out above the surface of the skin in garish colors such that range from a bruised red to a deep blue.

Although they are smaller and rarely protrude, spider veins are not much better. Spreading out in spindly networks that often resemble cobwebs, these networks of diseased veins can cover large areas of skin.

For cosmetic reasons alone, it is a small wonder that people are increasingly taking advantage of the full range of treatment options that a modern vein doctor can offer.

Medical Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins

Both varicose and spider veins can be signs of a dangerous condition called venous insufficiency. In short, this means that your circuiting blood is failing to return to your heart in a healthy and natural manner, causing an inordinate amount of blood to pool in the lower extremities. In extreme cases, venous insufficiency can lead to loss of limb or even death.

Even varicose and spider veins that don’t present grave health threats can present some extremely unpleasant symptoms. Individuals who are living with these conditions

complain of issues that include….

  • Sharp pain along the course of the affected vein
  • Localized inflammation/swelling
  • Localized itching
  • Heavy or restless legs
  • Vein tearing and/or bleeding during activities such as shaving
  • Sores, wounds, and/or ulcers on the skin

Find a Vein Specialist

If you are concerned about varicose or spider veins, it's best to consult with a qualified vein doctor (or phlebologist) as soon as possible. These medical professionals have completed specialized training that goes far above and beyond that of a typical family doctor or general practitioner. In short, vein doctors have built on their general Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees with extensive educational and clinical practice that places you and your diseased veins in the best possible hands.

When You Need Spider Vein Treatment

Spider veins can be distressing in appearance, although they often have no symptoms. However, many people seek spider vein treatment because the colored “starbursts” are so noticeable, especially when they occur on the face. Here's what you need to know about spider veins and their treatment, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens and Premier Heart and Vein Care.

About Spider Veins

Spider veins - the medical name is telangiectasis - are a type of small varicose vein. They are most likely to occur on the legs but may also occur in other areas of the body, like the face. They develop because small flaps of tissue in the veins, called valves, become weak and allow blood to flow backward to pool in the vein. Many people have no symptoms with spider veins. Others may complain of itching, pain or burning in the area of the spider vein. It is common for patients to have both varicose and spider veins.

Are Spider Veins a Problem?

In most cases, spider veins are primarily a cosmetic issue. If symptoms do occur, they are usually minimal. They can be easily hidden with long pants or skirts or with makeup. Those strategies are uncomfortable on hot days, however. Spider veins do tend to coexist with varicose veins – they are actually just a small varicose vein – and many patients choose to treat both.

Who Can Provide Vein Treatment?

A vein doctor or vascular surgeon usually offers vein treatment services. The term “vein doctor” doesn't describe a medical specialty, and a vein doctor might be a general practitioner, radiologist, internist, cardiologist or vascular surgeon. The services these doctors typically offer include what are known as minimally invasive procedures like laser treatments, sclerotherapy and ambulatory phlebectomy. Only a vascular surgeon, however, can actually perform surgery such as a vein stripping.

Treating Spider Veins

As vein disease goes, spider veins are a relatively minor problem. Luckily, there are different treatments for spider veins that can be performed in your doctor's office and require no or only local anesthesia. You can usually resume your normal activities within a day or so, except for strenuous exercise. Spider vein treatment includes:

Sclerotherapy – considered the gold standard of spider vein treatment, sclerotherapy scars the veins closed. The doctor injects a solution into the vein with a tiny needle. This solution is very irritating, and makes the vein swell, then collapse. Pressure dressings or compression stockings applied over the area keep the vein closed while the vein walls scar and fuse together. The veins gradually fade and are absorbed in to the surrounding tissue, although they don't become completely invisible.

Laser Treatment – this treatment does not require a needle or incision. The laser is passed along the skin over the vein, sending strong bursts of high-energy light into the vein. As with sclerotherapy, the treated veins collapse and scar closed.

If you have spider veins, Premier Heart and Vein Care can help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment or for any questions or concerns.

 

Advances in Technology Provide New Vein Treatment Options for Patients

In the past, patients who were suffering from spider veins or varicose veins could only find relief by going through a lengthy, and sometimes painful, surgical procedure. Recent technological advances have changed the vein treatment options that are available to patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins.

New, state-of-the-art treatment options, such as VenaSeal, and Varithena, help patients treat spider or varicose veins quickly, easily, and with minimal downtime or pain. Taking a closer look at the new varicose or spider vein treatment options that are available through Premier Heart & Vein Care can help you determine which treatment may be best for your unique situation.

Treat Large Varicose Veins in the Leg with Varithena

Large varicose veins that run down the leg can be extremely painful, not to mention unsightly. Varithena is an FDA approved treatment option for men and women who are suffering from large, bulging varicose veins in the leg.

Varithena is unique because it uses a special type of foam to treat the varicose veins. The foam is injected directly into the vein. Once it is injected into the vein, it will slowly start to irritate the inner lining of the vein. The irritation causes the vein to close. Once the vein closes, the body will naturally redirect the blood to other healthier veins, which dramatically reduces the appearance and symptoms associated with varicose veins.

VenaSeal Uses "Super Glue" to Treat Problematic Veins

VenaSeal relies upon a unique type of "glue" to treat spider and varicose veins. The glue is injected into the damaged or unhealthy vein. Once in the vein, it will form a sealed barrier which will relieve any symptoms associated with varicose or spider veins. The symptoms are relieved because the body reroutes the blood to nearby veins that are often stronger and healthier.

Every patient is unique when it comes to seeking vein treatment. What works for one individual may not work for another. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart & Vein Care in San Luis Obispo, California. Dr. Stevens will gladly discuss your individual case with you and provide you with treatment recommendations.

Do I Need a Vein Clinic?

Summer is a time for shorts and bathing suits to help beat the heat. On the other hand, any time of year is good for a ,little black dress. If you have varicose veins or spider veins, however, you may feel uncomfortable wearing these wardrobe staples. Or you may actually be having uncomfortable symptoms. These are all good reasons to visit a vein clinic. Here's how a vein clinic might be helpful if you need varicose veins treated or spider vein removal, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens, at Premier Heart and Vein Care in San Luis Obispo, California.

What's a Vein Clinic?

A vein clinic is a combination doctor's office and treatment center. The focus is on the outpatient treatment of vein disease and related problems. Typical services include diagnostic procedures like Veinlite to find and map veins, or heart and vascular procedures like carotid ultrasounds and electrocardiograms. Most vein clinics offer treatments for varicose veins as well as spider vein removal with what are known as non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures. These procedures take only an hour or two and you can then go home to resume normal activities the same day or shortly thereafter.

What Conditions are Treated in a Vein Clinic?

The two most common conditions treated in a vein clinic are spider veins and varicose veins. The two conditions are actually the same thing; spider veins are just smaller and are found on the surface of the legs or face. Both result from the failure of tiny tissue flaps inside the veins called valves. The valves help prevent blood from flowing backward in between heartbeats. Varicose veins may cause symptoms like burning or a sensation of tiredness in the legs, but spider veins rarely cause symptoms. However, spider veins do affect your appearance, especially when located on the face. Some vein clinics also treat other vascular conditions related to the heart.

What Treatments are Available?

Every vein clinic is different and may offer different services. The two most common treatments are sclerotherapy and laser therapy, which are used for smaller varicose and spider veins. A special solution that irritates the veins is injected during a sclerotherapy procedure. This makes the veins swell and then collapse. Pressure dressings or elastic stockings are applied to make the vein scar closed. Laser therapy acts in a similar fashion but high-intensity energy is what causes the irritation, swelling and collapse of the veins. Another procedure is Venaseal, which uses a special adhesive to seal the vein closed. All of these procedures use only local anesthesia. Recovery time is short and, with the exception of vigorous exercise, you can usually resume your normal activities within a day or so.

No matter what your vein problems, a vein clinic offers state-of-the-art treatments and diagnostic procedures. The procedures can be performed at the clinic and take only a few hours at most. Please contact us if you have questions or to schedule an appointment.

 

Debunking Myths Associated with Electrocardiography Testing

The information doctors obtain from electrocardiography testing, such as EKG or ECG, can save lives. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to undergo this type of testing because they believe the testing is dangerous, painful, or time consuming.

Debunking some of the myths and common misconceptions surrounding EKG or ECG testing will help patients who are seeing the cardiology and vein doctor at Premier Heart & Vein Care feel better about having to have this procedure performed.

Electrocardiography Testing is Extremely Time Consuming

People are often surprised to discover that EKGs and ECGs are some of the fastest tests. In fact, it will probably take more time for you to complete the check-in process and get prepared for the test than it will to have the actual test performed.

For the most part, the testing process associated with an EKG or ECG will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. The real time consuming part of an EKG or ECG is the placement and removal of the electrobes. Placing and removing the electrobes can take almost as long as the actual test procedure.

EKG and ECG Testing Involves Shocking the Body with an Electrical Current

The electrobes that are placed all over the body during an EKG or ECG do not emit any type of electricity. This means you are not at risk of getting hurt from an electrical current. The purpose of the electrobes is to measure and record the electrical activity in the heart.

The EKG or ECG Testing Procedure is Painful

People automatically assume that because EKG or ECG testing measures electrical activity to the heart and there are a lot of electrobes involved that it will be painful, but it isn't. The entire testing process is painless.

While the testing process is pain free, there is a slight risk that you may experience some pain or irritation from the adhesive bandages used to hold the electrobes in place. If this should occur, topical cream can be applied to sooth any irritation, pain, or itching you experience.

Stress EKGs Cause Heart Attacks

Occasionally, a doctor may want to see how your heart reacts to physical or strenuous exercise. A stress EKG, sometimes called a stress test, may be performed. A huge misconception surrounding this type of testing is that it causes heart attacks. It doesn't.

A stress EKG is not what causes the heart attacks or the irregular heartbeat. It is the exercise or strenuous activity that causes the heart attack. The stress EKG is just monitoring and recording how the heart reacts.

Premier Heart & Vein Care can answer any questions you may have regarding electrocardiography testing. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality cardiovascular care. We want you to feel comfortable with the procedures that are being performed. Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken Stevens to discuss and learn more about EKG or ECG testing.

Maps & Directions

Get Directions

Latest Blog Posts

What Are the Advantages of Venefit?

Varicose veins affect up to 35 percent of Americans, and those with a family history of the condition are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, reports the Society for Vascular Surgery. While surgical removal of varicose veins is available, it Read More

What to Expect After a Sclerotherapy Procedure

Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels.  Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it Read More