Thrombolytic Treatment and Balloon Angioplasty in Chronic Occlusion of the Aortic Bifurcation

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate nonsurgical alternatives in reopening chronically occluded aortic bifurcation.

Design

Uncontrolled randomized study.

Setting

University-affiliated referral center for vascular diseases.

Patients

Twenty-five of 39 consecutive patients with chronic aortoiliac disease including a totally occluded aortic bifurcation were found to be acceptable candidates for an aortobifemoral prosthetic graft.

Intervention

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either streptokinase or urokinase or recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA). In cases of successful thrombolysis and residual obstructions, subsequent balloon angioplasty was attempted. Prosthetic bypass grafting was done if thrombolytic treatment and balloon angioplasty failed.

Results

Complete lysis was achieved in 5 of 25 patients (20%). In 10 (40%) patients, lysis showed residual obstructions, which were reopened mechanically in 8 patients; 2 patients had extra-anatomical bypass grafts. Ten patients (40%) without thrombolysis had surgical aortobifemoral bypass grafts. Overall, recanalization and clinical improvement were achieved in 13 of 25 patients (52%) by thrombolytic therapy and subsequent balloon angioplasty. The recanalization rate did not differ among the different thrombolytic drugs. However, rt-PA therapy resulted in reopening after 4 days of treatment; streptokinase, after 6 days; and urokinase, after 9 days (P < 0.005). No major complications or deaths occurred.

Conclusion

Thrombolytic treatment followed by balloon angioplasty may help avoid the need for aortobifemoral prosthetic bypass grafting in more than 50% of patients with chronic aortoiliac disease.

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