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Johns Hopkins Health - A Leg Up on Vein Disorders

Fall 2011
Issue No. 14

A Leg Up on Vein Disorders

Date: October 12, 2011

sue hu

Sue Hu finally finds relief for a wound that wouldn’t heal.



I didn’t know exactly what was wrong. But I’d developed a deep, painful wound on my right foot. It made getting around difficult, and the discomfort even kept me awake at night.

I was diagnosed with a venous ulcer. A dermatologist sent me to a vein clinic, where they performed minor surgery. But the procedures performed were incomplete, so I developed another ulcer.

That’s when my dermatologist said, “You need a higher level of care. I think you should go to Johns Hopkins.” Those were her exact words.

So I went to the Johns Hopkins Vein Center. That’s where all the pieces of the puzzle came together and I learned the extent of my venous insufficiency. I met Jennifer Heller, M.D., who reviewed the treatment options with me and answered all my questions. It was really important to me to have a specialist I could have a dialogue with. We talked about what was best for me, and we went forward with it.

For three months, I wore a bandage from my knee to my toes, which was changed every week at the vein center. I also wore a special boot that helped me heal and provided support. About halfway through my treatment, they performed minor surgery to repair the vein that had been causing the problem.

Later, they told me I’d need to wear support stockings most of the time from now on. That’s something no one had said before I came to Johns Hopkins. I’m an advocate for my own health, and this is the kind of information I want. It’s about improving quality of life.

I would not want to have to go through this again, so I’m glad to have the good news that my ulcer is healed.


Venous Insufficiency Explained

  • In people who have venous insufficiency, blood in the legs doesn’t circulate properly and instead pools in spots like the feet. Where it pools, tissue deteriorates and causes a deep wound to form from the inside out.
  • This condition can be misdiagnosed, or surgery is performed on the veins without addressing the nonhealing wound.
  • Signs of a venous insufficiency include swelling of the legs; varicose veins that cause daily symptoms such as aching, throbbing or itching; a rash around the ankle; or a wound on the leg or foot that just won’t heal.



Free Screening
Tuesday, November 8, 5–8 p.m., at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Join Johns Hopkins vascular surgeon Jennifer Heller, M.D., FACS, to learn more about varicose veins, the VNUS Closure procedure and other available treatment options at a free screening. Call 877-546-1872 to register or visit hopkinsmedicine.org/healthseminars to see additional screening dates.


To watch a video of Sue Hu telling her story, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/mystory. For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872.

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