Long-term prognostic factors after thrombolysis for lower limb ischemia

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This study assessed prognostic factors regarding long-term outcome for amputation and death among patients who underwent intra-arterial thrombolysis due to lower limb ischemia.


Consecutive patients with intra-arterial thrombolysis due to lower limb ischemia treated at the Department of Vascular Diseases, University Hospital of Malmö, between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2005, were retrospectively reviewed. A multivariate Cox regression analysis was performed to determine independent predictors for amputation and death.


A total of 220 intra-arterial thrombolysis procedures were performed in 195 patients (46% women). Median age was 73 years. Complete and partial thrombolysis was obtained in 41% and 38%, respectively. Hemorrhagic complications were documented in 33%, but only 6% (13 of 220) were interrupted. The amputation rate was 26% and mortality was 35% during a median follow-up of 32 months. Degree of lysis (hazard ratio [HR], 4.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.4-9.7;P< .001), motor deficit at admission (HR, 4.0; 95% CI, 1.8-8.7;P= .001), foot ulcers (HR, 7.2; 95% CI, 2.2-23.4;P= .001), and ischemic heart disease (HR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1-4.8;P= .024) remained as independent factors associated with amputation. Renal insufficiency (HR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4-4.2;P= .003), ischemic heart disease (HR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2-3.7;P= .007), cerebrovascular disease (HR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-4.0;P= .009), foot ulcers (HR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.2-8.6;P= .019), and acute lower limb ischemia (HR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.1-10.1;P= .028) remained as independent factors associated with mortality.


Thrombolysis is successful, with few major complications in most patients with lower limb ischemia. Patients with ischemic heart disease and foot ulcers are at higher long-term risk for both amputation and death. A lesser degree of lysis and motor deficit were associated with higher amputation rates. The presence of such negative prognostic factors may help clinicians to deny further invasive vascular treatment. Renal insufficiency, cerebrovascular disease, and acute lower limb ischemia were associated with increased mortality.

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