Favorable outcomes of very elderly patients with critical limb ischemia who undergo distal bypass surgery

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To determine the midterm outcomes of distal bypass surgery for very elderly patients, and to determine the ideal candidates for this procedure.


Of 268 consecutive patients (328 limbs) with critical limb ischemia who were treated between 2006 and 2013, 106 (126 limbs) underwent distal bypass and were retrospectively reviewed. Nineteen patients (22 limbs) were aged ≥80 years (very elderly group) and 87 patients (104 limbs) were aged <80 years (control group).


The baseline characteristics differed between the 2 groups in terms of regular hemodialysis rate (very elderly group, 4 [21%] vs control group, 60 [69%]; P = .0002) and the Charlson comorbidity index (very elderly group, 3.2 ± 1.7 vs control group, 5.0 ± 2.0; P = .0005). According to the Rutherford category of limb ischemia (4/5/6), the very elderly and control groups were classified as 5/17/0 and 11/87/6, respectively (P = .18). Before the surgery, 17 patients (77%) and 67 patients (64%) were ambulatory in the very elderly and control groups, respectively. At follow-up at 29 ± 22 months, the rates of primary (P = .33) and secondary patency (P = .14), limb salvage (P = .50), survival (P = .26), amputation-free survival (P = .42), major adverse limb event and also perioperative death (P = .11), and major adverse cardiovascular events (P = .36) did not significantly differ between the groups. In multivariate analysis, a history of coronary artery disease (hazard ratio [HR], 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3–5.9; P = .005), preoperative nonambulatory status (HR, 4.2; 95% CI, 2.1–8.1; P < .0001), and serum albumin levels <3 g/dL (HR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.3–5.4; P = .01) were significantly related to poor amputation-free survival. Thirteen patients (59%) remained ambulatory at the latest follow-up. In 91 patients (110 limbs) with tissue loss, the Society for Vascular Surgery lower extremity threatened limb classification system: risk stratification based on Wound, Ischemia, and foot Infection classification stages 3 and 4 negatively affected complete wound healing, according to multivariate analysis (HR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.20–0.61; P = .0005).


A very elderly age should not preclude a patient from undergoing distal bypass surgery. A history of coronary artery disease, a nonambulatory status, and hypoalbuminemia, along with the Wound, Ischemia, and foot Infection classification for patients with tissue loss, should be carefully considered to obtain the most benefit from distal bypass surgery.

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