BACKGROUND. The accepted pathophysiology of telangiectasias is reflux from superficial or deep veins. There are physical signs and scientific findings that do not fit this theory but support the possibility of arteriovenous (AV) shunt origin. OBJECTIVE. If there is a higher flow in spider veins than in the surrounding skin, it means that AV shunts participate in the circulation of the telangiectasia. On the other hand, slow flow indicates reflux as the etiologic factor. METHOD. Telangiectasias and the surrounding skin of 22 legs of 19 patients were examined with laser-Doppler equipment. RESULTS. The probe over the spider vein found a higher flow value (average 28.2 perfusion units [PU]) than in the surrounding skin (15.6 PU) in 13 limbs, but it was significantly higher only in 5 cases. In 9 limbs, the flow was slower. CONCLUSION. We interpret the higher flow values as a consequence of open AV shunts. This means that AV shunt pathophysiology was present in some of our cases.
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