About Vein Disease

Venous disease affects more than 40 million Americans, including half of all American's over age 50. Venous disease is diagnosed when the one-way valves that allow blood flow to the heart fail to function or are damaged in some way.

Types of Venous Disease

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of blood clots in deep leg veins. Symptoms may include leg pain, especially in the calf, swelling and associated warmth and redness in the affected extremity. Symptoms may appear suddenly or progress slowly over time. If the clot breaks loose and becomes a pulmonary embolism (PE), symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid pulse or a cough. There may also be a feeling of apprehension, sweating or fainting. These symptoms are critical and demand immediate medical attention. If left untreated, the pulmonary embolism brought on by DVT can be fatal.

The specialists at our DVT Center at MercyOne Iowa Heart Vein Center are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies to help prevent, diagnose and treat DVT. During your appointment, your doctor will work with you to create a cutting-edge treatment plan based on your needs. For more information about the DVT Center or to schedule an appointment, call our West Des Moines office at 877-413-VEIN.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that occur in the legs and can affect both men and women. Usually dark blue in color, they can form near or above the surface of the skin.

While genetics play a large role in who develops varicose veins, anyone can get them. In fact, more than half of Iowans over age 50 suffer from varicose veins to some degree. Causes range from genetics, pregnancy and obesity to occupations that require prolonged standing. Although there are cosmetic concerns for many patients, most seek treatment to relieve swelling, aching or chronic pain.

MercyOne Iowa Heart Vein Center performs Endovenous Vein Therapy and Ambulatory Phlebectomy for the treatment of varicose veins.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are the thread-like red, blue or purple blood vessels that occur in patches primarily on the legs and face.

Caused by irregular bloodflow, spider veins are smaller and more delicate than varicose veins. They tend to develop in clusters anywhere on the body and are thought to be induced by hormones. Women are more likely than men to get spider veins. Although they're most often a cosmetic issue, spider veins can sometimes cause discomfort or itching.

MercyOne Iowa Heart Vein Center offers sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins. This simple procedure takes just a few minutes, is done in our office, and you may return to work right away.

Treatment Options

There are a number of options available to treat venous disease. At MercyOne Iowa Heart Vein Center, we provide the following treatment options.

Compression Stockings

A prescription strength compression stocking is often a first line of treatment for patients with varicose veins. The stocking assists in returning blood back to the heart. Although a patient's symptoms may be relieved, stockings will not reverse the condition.

Endovenous Vein Therapy

Endovenous vein therapy is a short, minimally invasive alternative to more invasive vein stripping procedures. It leaves minimal scarring and is performed under local anesthesia. A thin fiber or catheter is inserted into the vein and heat energy is applied to the vein. Delivered in short pulses, the energy heats the vein from within, causing it to shrink, collapse and seal shut.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

This is an office procedure performed to remove large surface varicose veins through tiny skin punctures. It leaves minimal scarring and is performed under local anesthesia. There is very little discomfort and no stitches are required.


Used primarily in the treatment of spider veins and small varicose veins, sclerotherapy involves injecting a "sclerosing" agent into the vein using a very fine needle. This chemical solution irritates the vein tissue, causing the lining of the vein to swell, harden and eventually seal off.

Am I a Candidate?

Determine if you are at risk for developing or already have symptoms for venous disease.