Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for the treatment of limb threatening ischemia: Do the results justify an attempt before bypass grafting?

R. E. Parsons, W. D. Suggs, J. J. Lee, L. A. Sanchez, R. T. Lyon, F. J. Veith

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130 Scopus citations


Purpose: Results of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) in selected cases have been reported to be equal or superior to those of arterial bypass graft surgery, with a lower morbidity and mortality. We performed PTA of stenotic or occlusive lesions in patients with limb- threatening ischemia, hoping to improve our overall success and decrease morbidity in this group of patients. The results of PTA in the limb-salvage setting was evaluated. Methods: From 1992 to 1995, 307 PTAs were performed in 257 patients. One hundred sixty-one (63%) patients had diabetes mellitus, and 32 (12%) patients had renal failure. All patients were evaluated by means of pulse volume recordings and ankle brachial indices at 1 and 6 weeks after PTA and at 3 month intervals thereafter. Seventeen patients (9%) were lost to follow-up. The continued success or failure of PTA was defined by means of noninvasive vascular laboratory criteria, patency by means of pulse examination, the need for subsequent bypass grafting across the index lesion, and limb salvage. Results: The 1-year patency rates for external iliac PTAs (56%) were significantly lower (P < .05) than those for common iliac PTAs (87%). Infrainguinal PTAs at the femoral, popliteal, and tibial level had 1- year patency rates of less than 15%. Conclusion: Common iliac artery PTA is justified in most cases in which it is feasible. However, when PTAs are performed below the inguinal ligament, the results are markedly worse. One- year patency rates of PTA in this group of patients with threatened limbs are inferior to the patency rates of arterial bypass grafts, even when these bypasses are performed with a prosthetic material. PTA should not be considered as a primary treatment modality for patients with infrainguinal arterial occlusive disease who also have limb-threatening ischemia, except in unusual circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1071
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998


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