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Biomed Imaging Interv J. 2010 Oct-Dec;6(4):e33. doi: 10.2349/biij.6.4.e33. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Critical limb ischaemia in a diabetic population from an Asian Centre: angiographic pattern of disease and 3-year limb salvage rate with percutaneous angioplasty as first line of treatment.

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  • 1Diagnostic Radiology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.



Lower extremity amputation prevention (LEAP) is an ongoing program in our institution aimed at salvaging limbs in patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI). Patients in the LEAP program with reconstructible anatomy on initial Doppler imaging received either bypass surgery or percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty (PTA). We present the 3 year limb salvage rate and angiographic disease patterns in 42 consecutive diabetic patients with CLI who received PTA in 2005.


26 women and 16 men with diabetes between the ages of 45 and 91 years old (mean age, 70.8 years) received PTA in 2005. Presenting symptoms were rest pain (n = 22), pre-existing gangrene (n = 17), non-healing ulcer (n = 16) and cellulitis (n = 2). The aim of the PTA was to achieve straight-line flow from the abdominal aorta down to the patent dorsalis pedis or plantar arch, with limb salvage as the ultimate outcome. Failure of treatment was defined as any amputation above the level of a Syme's amputation or the need for further surgical bypass. Technical success was achieved in 90% (38 out of 42 patients).


Limb salvage rates were 93% at 1 month, 87% at 3 months, 82% at 6 months, 78% at 1 year, 69% at 2 years and 66% at 3 years. Mortality was 17% (n = 7) at 3 years. Of the 13 patients with failed therapy, 3 underwent bypass, 9 had amputations and 1 had bypass followed by amputation. Four of the cases required further intervention due to worsening gangrene and infection, while the remaining was due to persistent rest pain. The rest of the 32 patients had no lower limb related issues at the end of 3 years, with improvement of the presenting symptoms. Patterns of treated segments were aortoiliac occlusions (n = 3), pure infrapopliteal disease (n = 3), femoropopliteal with at least 1 good infrapopliteal run-off vessel (n = 14) and combined femoropopliteal and infrapopliteal disease (n = 25).


Involvement of infrapopliteal vessels that needs to be treated is common in Asian diabetics. While early limb salvage rates up to 1 year are similar, the 3 year limb salvage rates in Asian diabetics are lower than the western population.


Asian centre; Limb salvage rate; diabetics; lower limb vascular disease pattern; percutaneous angioplasty

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