Do Surgical Distal Bypasses Still Play a Role in the Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia ?

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Aim: The treatment of critical limb ischemia is at present very controversial. In fact surgery using different grafts (venous or prosthetic) is in competition with percutaneous angioplasty. Progresses of endoluminal techniques brought certain authors to think that angioplasty is now the first treatment of critical limb ischemia. The aim of the study hereby is to compare our results of distal venous bypasses to the results obtained in literature with venous or other grafts and to those of the percutaneous angioplasty.

Material and method: In this retrospective study of 113 operated cases between January 2003 and December 2006 by four surgeons, 21 cases are excluded considering the lack of data. Among the remaining 92 cases, the average age is 68.1 years. Men represent 79.4%. Comorbidities include: COPD 55.4%, coronary artery disease 60.9%, diabetes 44.6%, dyslipidemia 66.3% and dialysis 9.8%. Surgical revision was necessary in 29.4%. There were 30.4% stage III limb ischemia and 62% stage IV. Acute ischemia was present in 7.6% of patients. The proximal anastomosis of the bypass is femoral except for 13 cases. The outflow artery is always sural or even more distal.

Results: Perioperative mortality is of 2.2% (two cases). The average follow up was of 26.2 months (0.16-64). Eleven patients required subsequent amputation. The primary patency at 1, 3 and 5 years was respectively of 82.1%, 70.6% and 55.9% while limb salvage was respectively of 87.4%, 85.9% and 85.9% at the same intervals.

Conclusion: comparing our results to those of the literature for venous or prosthetic bypasses and distal angioplasties, we remain convinced of the high efficiency, on the long run, of infra-popliteal venous bypass grafts. Meanwhile, recent data on distal angioplasties are promising and in constant progress.

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