Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Varicose Vein Education and Informed coNsent (VVEIN) study. PP.pdf (537.11 kB)

Varicose Vein Education and Informed coNsent (VVEIN) study: a randomized controlled pilot feasibility study

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Introduction: Doctors have a legal requirement and duty of care to ensure patients are enabled to make an informed decision about their treatment, including discussion of the benefits, risks and alternatives to a procedure. A patient centred approach to consent has been firmly established in Ireland and fundamental to this is the ability to engage in a dialogue that offers comprehensible information to patients. Telemedicine has revolutionised the way we can deliver care to patients in the modern era of computers, tablets, and smartphones and its use has been rapidly expanded. Novel digital strategies to improve the informed consent process for surgical procedures have been increasingly under investigation over the last 10-15 years and may offer a low cost, accessible and tailored solution to consent for surgical interventions. Within vascular surgery, superficial venous interventions have been associated with a high number medicolegal claims and also represents an area within the specialty with rapidly evolving technology and techniques. The ability to communicate comprehensible information to patients has never been greater. Thus, the author’s aim to explore whether it is feasible and acceptable to deliver a digital health education intervention to patients undergoing endovenous thermal ablation (EVTA) to supplement the consent process.  

Methods: This is a prospective, single centre, randomised controlled, feasibility trial recruiting patients with chronic venous disease deemed suitable to undergo EVTA. Patients will be randomised to receive either standard consent or a newly developed digital health education tool. The primary outcome is feasibility; assessing the recruitment and retention rate of participants and assessing acceptability of the intervention. Secondary outcomes include knowledge retention, anxiety and satisfaction. This feasibility trial is designed to recruit 40 patients, which will allow for a moderate dropout rate. This pilot study will inform the authors of the appropriateness of an adequately powered multicentre trial.

Discussion: This trial will be the first randomised trial to examine the role of a digital consent solution for EVTA. This may improve and standardise the consent dialogue with patients and may have the potential to reduce claims related to poor consent processes and disclosure of risks.

Ethical committee reference: Ethical approval has been sought and received from both the Bon Secours Hospital and RCSI (202109017), on the 14th May 2021 and 10th October 2021, respectively.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT05261412, registered on the 1st of March 2022,


The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Strategic Academic Research (StAR) programme together with the Bon Secours Health System (Ireland) are sponsoring this study through a research grant DC21139A01.



The original article is available at Published version is available in Pilot and Feasibility Studies and RCSI Repository

Published Citation

Kiernan A, Boland F, Moneley D, Doyle F, Harkin D. Varicose Vein Education and Informed coNsent (VVEIN) study: a randomized controlled pilot feasibility study. Research Square. 2022

Publication Date

13 Apr 2022


  • Data Science Centre
  • School of Population Health
  • Medicine
  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Medical Professionalism
  • Health Psychology

Research Area

  • Health Professions Education
  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Surgical Science and Practice
  • Vascular Biology


  • Submitted Version (Preprint)

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