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Laser-assisted versus mechanical recanalization of femoral arterial occlusions

  • Author(s): Tobis, JM
  • Conroy, R
  • Deutsch, LS
  • Gordon, I
  • Honye, J
  • Andrews, J
  • Profeta, G
  • Chatzkel, S
  • Berns, M
  • et al.
Abstract

A randomized clinical trial was performed to test the hypothesis that a laser-heated probe is superior to standard techniques to reopen occluded femoral arteries. Twenty patients were treated with a standard guidewire and balloon dilation method. In a second group of 20 patients, the laser probe was initially used as a nonheated mechanical device. If the probe was unsuccessful in mechanically reopening the artery, an Argon laser was activated to heat the probe. The mean length of occlusion was 15.9 ± 10.3 cm. The success rate for the laser probe was 15 of 20 (75%), which was not significantly different from the standard method, 19 of 20 (95%). Most of the success in the laser-probe group was due to the probe's mechanical properties. The laser probe was successful as a cold, mechanical device in 13 of 15 (87%) arteries. It was necessary to heat the probe in 5 patients. When heated, the laser probe assisted recanalization in 2 but perforated the artery in 3 cases. The results of this randomized trial do not support the hypotheses behind the use of the thermal laser probe. The laser probe functions primarily as a mechanical device. The thermal activation does not significantly improve the success rate without increasing the risk of perforation. This small additional benefit does not justify the large cost of current thermal laser devices. This controlled study also demonstrates a higher success rate in long occlusions than previous reports of mechanical balloon recanalization. This is due to a combination approach of retrograde and anterograde probing of the occluded segment. © 1991.

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