Directional Atherectomy With Antirestenotic Therapy vs Drug-Coated Balloon Angioplasty Alone for Isolated Popliteal Artery Lesions

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Purpose: To report a single-center study comparing drug-coated balloon (DCB) angioplasty vs directional atherectomy with antirestenotic therapy (DAART) for isolated lesions of the popliteal artery. Methods: Seventy-two patients were treated with either DCB angioplasty alone (n=31) or with DAART (n=41) for isolated popliteal artery stenotic disease between October 2009 and December 2015. The majority of patients presented with lifestyle-limiting claudication (74% vs 86%, respectively). Vessel calcification (29% vs 29%, respectively), mean lesion length (47 vs 42 mm, respectively), and number of runoff vessels were comparable between the groups. The primary outcome measure was primary patency; secondary outcomes were technical success (<30% residual stenosis or bailout stenting), secondary patency, and freedom from clinically driven target lesion revascularization (TLR). Results: The technical success rate following DCB was 84% vs 93% (p=0.24) after DAART. The 12-month primary patency rate was significantly higher in the DAART group (65% vs 82%; hazard ratio 2.64, 95% confidence interval 1.09 to 6.37, p=0.021), while freedom from TLR did not differ between the 2 treatment strategies (82% vs 94%, p=0.072). Secondary patency at 12 months was identical for both groups (96% vs 96%). Although not statistically significant, bailout stenting was more common after DCB angioplasty (16% vs 5% for DAART, p=0.13) and aneurysmal degeneration of the popliteal artery was seen more often after DAART (7% vs 0% for DCB alone, p=0.25). Popliteal artery injury was observed in 2 patients treated using DAART (5% vs 0% for DCB alone, p=0.5), whereas distal embolization rates were comparable between the groups (3% for DCB alone vs 5% for DAART, p=0.99). Conclusion: In this study, the use of DAART was associated with a higher primary patency rate compared with DCB angioplasty for isolated popliteal lesions. Nonetheless, both treatment options were associated with excellent 12-month secondary patency. Aneurysmal degeneration of the popliteal artery and increased bailout stenting could compromise the outcomes of DAART and DCB, respectively.

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