Foam-in-Vein: Characterisation of Blood Displacement Efficacy of Liquid Sclerosing Foams.
Meghdadi A., Jones SA., Patel VA., Lewis AL., Millar TM., Carugo D.
Sclerotherapy is among the least invasive and most commonly utilised treatment options for varicose veins. Nonetheless, it does not cure varicosities permanently and recurrence rates are of up to 64%. Although sclerosing foams have been extensively characterised with respect to their bench-top properties, such as bubble size distribution and half-life, little is known about their flow behaviour within the venous environment during treatment. Additionally, current methods of foam characterisation do not recapitulate the end-point administration conditions, hindering optimisation of therapeutic efficacy. Here, a therapeutically relevant apparatus has been used to obtain a clinically relevant rheological model of sclerosing foams. This model was then correlated with a therapeutically applicable parameter-i.e., the capability of foams to displace blood within a vein. A pipe viscometry apparatus was employed to obtain a rheological model of 1% polidocanol foams across shear rates of 6 s-1 to 400 s-1. Two different foam formulation techniques (double syringe system and Tessari) and three liquid-to-gas ratios (1:3, 1:4 and 1:5) were investigated. A power-law model was employed on the rheological data to obtain the apparent viscosity of foams. In a separate experiment, a finite volume of foam was injected into a PTFE tube to displace a blood surrogate solution (0.2% w/v carboxymethyl cellulose). The displaced blood surrogate was collected, weighed, and correlated with foam's apparent viscosity. Results showed a decreasing displacement efficacy with foam dryness and injection flowrate. Furthermore, an asymptotic model was formulated that may be used to predict the extent of blood displacement for a given foam formulation and volume. The developed model could guide clinicians in their selection of a foam formulation that exhibits the greatest blood displacement efficacy.