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To evaluate the acute success and clinical impact of retrograde transpopliteal access for subintimal recanalization of superficial femoral artery (SFA) and proximal popliteal artery (PA) occlusions after failed attempts to re-enter the true lumen in the antegrade femoral approach.From 2002 to 2007, 56 patients (43 men; mean age 68±9 years, range 43-87) with stable chronic peripheral artery disease (Rutherford category 2 to 5) were treated with antegrade subintimal angioplasty that could not be completed owing to re-entry failure. Mean occlusion length was 17±7 cm (range 4-32), including 13 TASC II A (23.2%), 10 TASC II B (17.8%), 16 TASC II C (28.5%), and 17 TASC II D (30.3%) lesions. After re-entry to the true lumen failed in the antegrade approach, including predilation of the false channel, all patients were turned to a prone position, and a 5-F or 6-F sheath was placed into the mid segment of the PA under fluoroscopic guidance. Retrograde wire passage was attempted with a 0.035-inch hydrophilic guidewire.Fifty-five (98.2%) of 56 procedures were finished successfully with a residual stenosis of <30%; the 1 failure was due stent deformation within the occluded segment that could not be passed from either an antegrade or retrograde access. In all interventions, balloon angioplasty was performed; provisional stenting was done in 40 (71.4%). In 3 (5.3%) lesions, additional excimer laser atherectomy were performed. Six (10.7%) complications occurred, including 1 arteriovenous fistula from the PA to the popliteal vein and 1 sealing device induced PA occlusion. The mean ankle-brachial index increased from 0.44±0.26 to 0.86±0.23. The restenosis rate after 12 months was 54.9%.Failed antegrade attempts to recanalize chronic total occlusions of the SFA and proximal PA can be salvaged using a retrograde popliteal access, with a low complication rate, as an alternative to using a re-entry device. However, durability of the intervention using current interventional tools is limited.