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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for varicose veins and leg oedema in pregnancy

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2015
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (88th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (51st percentile)

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1 blog
8 X users
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages


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364 Mendeley
Interventions for varicose veins and leg oedema in pregnancy
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd001066.pub3
Pubmed ID

Rebecca MD Smyth, Nasreen Aflaifel, Anthony A Bamigboye


Pregnancy is presumed to be a major contributory factor in the increased incidence of varicose veins in women, which can in turn lead to venous insufficiency and leg oedema. The most common symptom of varicose veins and oedema is the substantial pain experienced, as well as night cramps, numbness, tingling, the legs may feel heavy, achy, and possibly be unsightly. Treatments for varicose veins are usually divided into three main groups: surgery, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. Treatments of leg oedema comprise mostly symptom reduction rather than cure and use of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. To assess any form of intervention used to relieve the symptoms associated with varicose veins and leg oedema in pregnancy. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 May 2015) and reference lists of retrieved studies. Randomised trials of treatments for varicose veins or leg oedema, or both, in pregnancy. Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and risk of bias, extracted data and checked them for accuracy. We included seven trials (involving 326 women). The trials were largely unclear for selection bias and high risk for performance and detection bias.Two studies were placebo-controlled trials. The first one compared a phlebotonic (rutoside) with placebo for the reduction in symptoms of varicose veins; the second study evaluated the efficacy of troxerutin in comparison to placebo among 30 pregnant women in their second trimester with symptomatic vulvar varicosities and venous insufficiency in their lower extremities. Data from this study were not in useable format, so were not included in the analysis. Two trials compared either compression stockings with resting in left lateral position or reflexology with rest for 15 minutes for the reduction of leg oedema. One trial compared standing water immersion for 20 minutes with sitting upright in a chair with legs elevated for 20 minutes. Women standing in water were allowed to stand or walk in place. One trial compared 20 minutes of daily foot massage for five consecutive days and usual prenatal care versus usual prenatal care. The final trial compared three treatment groups for treating leg oedema in pregnancy. The first group was assigned to lateral supine bed rest at room temperature, women in the second group were asked to sit in a bathtub of waist-deep water at 32 ± 0.5 C with their legs horizontal and the third group included the women who were randomised to sitting immersed in shoulder-deep water at 32 ± 0.5 C with legs extended downward. We did not include this study in the analysis as outcomes reported in the paper were not pre-specified outcomes of this review.We planned to use GRADE methods to assess outcomes for two different comparisons and assign a quality rating. However, only two out of three outcomes for one comparison were reported and could be assessed. Evidence from one trial (rutoside versus placebo) for the outcomes of reduction in symptoms and incidence of complications associated with varicose veins and oedema was assessed as of moderate quality. Rutoside versus placeboOne trial involving 69 women, reported that rutoside significantly reduced the symptoms associated with varicose veins (risk ratio (RR) 1.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11 to 3.22; moderate quality evidence). The incidence of complications (deep vein thrombosis) did not differ significantly between the two groups (risk ratio (RR) 0.17, 95% CI 0.01 to 3.49; moderate quality evidence). There were no significant differences in side-effects (RR 1.30, 95% CI 0.23 to 7.28). Women's perception of pain was not reported in this trial. External pneumatic intermittent compression versus restOne trial, involving 35 women, reported no significant difference in lower leg volume when compression stockings were compared against rest (mean difference (MD) -258.80, 95% CI -566.91 to 49.31). Reflexology versus restingAnother trial, involving 55 women, compared reflexology with rest. Reflexology significantly reduced the symptoms associated with oedema (reduction in symptoms: RR 9.09, 95% CI 1.41 to 58.54). The same study showed a trend towards satisfaction and acceptability with the intervention (RR 6.00, 95% CI 0.92 to 39.11). Water immersion versus leg elevationThere was evidence from one trial, involving 32 women, to suggest that water immersion for 20 minutes in a swimming pool reduces leg volume (RR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.83). Foot massage versus routine careOne trial, involving 80 women reported no significant difference in lower leg circumference when foot massage was compared against routine care (MD -0.11, 95% CI -1.02 to 0.80).No other primary or secondary outcomes were reported in the trials. There is moderate quality evidence to suggest that rutosides appear to help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins in late pregnancy. However, this finding is based on one study (69 women) and there are not enough data presented in the study to assess its safety in pregnancy. Reflexology or water immersion appears to help improve symptoms for women with leg oedema, but again this is based on two small studies (43 and 32 women, respectively).

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 8 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 364 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Unknown 361 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 57 16%
Student > Master 46 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 31 9%
Researcher 16 4%
Student > Postgraduate 14 4%
Other 54 15%
Unknown 146 40%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 88 24%
Nursing and Health Professions 59 16%
Social Sciences 14 4%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 8 2%
Sports and Recreations 8 2%
Other 36 10%
Unknown 151 41%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 15. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 March 2022.
All research outputs
of 23,317,888 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,528 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 284,999 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 304 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 23,317,888 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,528 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 32.8. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 63% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 284,999 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 304 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 51% of its contemporaries.