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J Endovasc Ther. 2009 Feb;16 Suppl 1:I147-52. doi: 10.1583/1545-1550-16.16.I-147.

Past, present and future of femoropopliteal stenting.

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  • 1Department of Angiology, Medical University Vienna, Austria.


Endovascular stent implantation was introduced to femoropopliteal procedures almost 2 decades ago. Initial results with balloon-expandable stainless steel stents and self-expanding Elgiloy stents, however, were disappointing. In particular, recurrence rates after long-segment femoropopliteal stenting were catastrophically high, in the range of 60% to 80% at 1 year. Also, attempts to resolve the problem of in-stent restenosis (ISR) using first-generation covered stent-grafts led to unsatisfactory results, high procedural complication rates due to large introducers, and a high incidence of graft thrombosis, which did not make these devices convincing alternatives to bare metal stents. After years of stagnation, however, recent developments in femoropopliteal stent technology have been promising. Self-expanding nitinol stents have been evaluated in several prospective studies. Initial problems with stent fractures seem to be resolved using second-generation devices; for the first time, stenting has been shown to be beneficial compared to balloon angioplasty in longer femoropopliteal lesions. Nevertheless, although superior to balloon angioplasty, nitinol stenting is still associated with a considerable restenosis rate, and treatment of ISR remains problematic. Future concepts to further improve long-term patency after femoropopliteal stenting therefore are under investigation, including drug-eluting stents, biodegradable stents, and coated stent-grafts. From a current perspective, femoropopliteal stenting remains the Achilles' heel of the interventionist.

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