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Vascular Surgery

Bleeding from a vein in front of ankle

01/15/2008

Question:

A few years ago a small varicous vein just above the front of my ankle developed a dark bulge about half the size of a pea. Several months later my hand slipped while tightening my shoe laces and a fingernail nicked the bulge. At first I didn`t know anything had happened, it looked like a dark thread between my leg and a cardboard box in front of it. It was only when I tried to grab the thread that I noticed my fingers seemed to pass through it that I thought something was strange. It was at night and the light near my door was dim. When I realized what had happed I went outside, to stop getting more blood on the carpet and sat on the patio with my leg slightly raised on a brick and called for my wife. It took a few minutes to get anything to put on it and in the mean time I tried to press on the spot but didn`t do much good. I eventually got cloth to tie around it but the blood just soaked through it and continued to drip out.

When the ambulance arrived they lifted the cloth about a foot off my leg and the solid tread-like stream still appeared to connect the cloth and the leg so they bandaged me up and took me to hospital. In emergency they applied vascular glue/cement? I can`t remember exactly what they called it.

I have hypertension that is usually well contgrolled by medication but at the time they measured my blood pressure and it was high. It was very difficult to hold the pressure on my ankle and it was a hot night so I think that and the stress of the situation probably had at least some role in raising my blood pressure.

My doctor told me it could happen again so I take a first aid pressure pad/bandage with me when I think I could nick the spot again.

The reason for my enquiry now is that a couple of nights ago I was getting dressed after a shower, a cold one, it is summer here, when my clothes rubbed agains the spot and the same stream started again. This time I applied the pressure bandage and pad and my wife drove we to hospital.

By the time I got there the bleeding had stopped and the doctor said there was no need to do anything and put another bandage on. He said that it was not possible to bleed out. What made me wonder if that is true in my case is that the ambulance officer who took me to hospital the first time told the hospital doctor that he had never seen anything like it, not that it was so bad, just that it was unusual. He explained how the stream continued unbroken as high as he lifted the covering. Someone told me a vein had broken through into the varicous vein. I can`t remember who it was or if they knew for sure.

My GP and a vascular specialist both told me nothing could be done about it. I am wondering if I should wear a pressure pad or something permanently, as I can`t know when it will happen again. As it squirts at such high pressure will it eventually stop if it happens somewhere where I don`t have access to some sort or pressure device. On both occasion cloth tied around it didn`t have much effect.

I spend a lot of time stading because I have a back probelm that is aggravated by sitting, which is probably the original cause of all my leg problems.

Answer:

I would urge you to see a vascular surgeon about evaluating your venous problems. You likely have some problems with the valves in your veins and while you may not bleed to death from them, they sure are annoying. There are many minimally invasive ways to treat venous valve problems. In the meantime, get into some support stockings during the day. Good luck!

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated