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.
displacement flow, foam, physician compounded foam, rheology, sclerotherapy, varicose vein, Humans, Sclerosing Solutions, Varicose Veins, Polidocanol, Sclerotherapy, Rheology