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Determinants of patency after percutaneous angioplasty and atherectomy of occluded superficial femoral arteries



Patients undergoing percutaneous recanalization of chronically occluded superficial femoral arteries were studied to determine which factors correlated with 1-year patency. Immediate change in ankle:brachial index (ABI), length of occlusion, tibial run-off, and the performance of supplemental catheter atherectomy were evaluated.


Eligible patients had at least one patient tibial run-off vessel and the absence of limb-threatening ischemia. Recanalization was performed via passage of a guidewire followed by balloon angioplasty. Tibial run-off was scored based on a modification of the angiogram scoring system of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. Supplemental transcutaneous extraction catheter atherectomy was randomly assigned to a sub-group of patients after initial experience with the recanalization technique. Clinical follow-up was employed to determine patency.


Forty-two of 57 attempts (74%) at recanalization were immediately successful. Overall 1-year patency was 40% in 40 limbs that could be followed. In limbs with balloon angioplasty alone (n = 23), patency was 43% compared with 35% in those having supplemental atherectomy. Tibial run-off did not vary significantly between patent and occluded groups. When ABI increased by 0.3 or more, patency was 56% compared with 26% when the ABI increase was less than or equal to 0.1 (P = 0.13). Occlusion length averaged 18.1 +/- 10.6 cm for all limbs and did not vary significantly between early successes and failures. Limbs with short occlusions (less than or equal to 5 cm, n = 8) had 63% patency compared with 38% patency for limbs with long occlusions (greater than 25 cm, n = 16), but the difference was not significant by analysis of variance.


An initial change in ABI was most predictive for patency, whereas no correlation with tibial run-off was demonstrated. Atherectomy did not increase patency. Short occlusions were more likely to remain patent than long ones, but overall patency was lower than described in other series.

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