VARICOSE veins can deteriorate dramatically while patients wait for surgery, research by surgeons at the Middlesex Hospital has shown.

The study, which followed 36 patients waiting an average of 20 months for surgery, found that one-fifth of the varicose veins got worse while patients were on the waiting list, and that 10 patients required more extensive surgery because of the deterioration.

Four out of 16 patients who had varicose veins in one limb developed them in the normal limb while awaiting surgery, says the report in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

A new book about varicose veins and their treatment has been published by Claremont Press. Varicose Veins, by Jane Smith and David Leaper, costs pounds 5.50.