Performing the Test

  1. Patient standing as this will make varicose veins more obvious
  2. Place fingers lightly on a vein proximally with one hand.
  3. With other hand, place fingers 15-20 cm distally along the same vein, compress/decompress the vein sharply from this distal point.
  4. Feel for the pressure wave transmitted to the fingers of the proximal hand.
  5. Normally, the proximal hand should feel no impulse. If an impulse is felt this indicates a varicose vein.


  1. Bickley L, Hoekelman R. Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. Philadephia, Pa: Lippincott; 2009.