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J Vasc Surg. 2012 May;55(5):1338-44; discussion 1344-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2011.11.106. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Results of external iliac artery reconstruction in avid cyclists.

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  • 1University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0679, USA.



We report the midterm results of external iliac artery reconstruction in 25 high-performance cyclists.


Cyclists undergoing arterial reconstruction for symptomatic external iliac arteriopathy at a single institution between October 2004 and August 2010 were identified. With Institutional Review Board approval, data were collected from medical record review and telephone interview. Results were analyzed with χ(2) or independent t-test.


Twenty-five patients (31 limbs) underwent operation, which included arterial reconstruction with or without inguinal ligament release. The average patient age at operation was 43.8 ± 5.0 for graft and 35.1 ± 1.9 for patch (P = .08). The average time from competitive cycling until operation was 18.2 ± 5.8 years for graft and 20.0 ± 2.5 for patch repairs (NS). Patients included 14 males and 11 females. There were 23 unilateral and four bilateral arterial reconstructions, including 26 patch angioplasties for localized disease and five interposition grafts for extensive disease; three patients underwent contralateral reconstruction as a separate procedure. Concomitant ipsilateral inguinal ligament release was performed in 25 patients (28 limbs), with contralateral release done in 12 patients (12 limbs). Three patients with isolated ligament release required subsequent arterial intervention. Follow-up averaged 32 months (range, 2-74). Primary patency for all reconstructions was 100%; the four reoperations (five limbs; one bilateral) were for symptom recurrence, two postgraft and two postangioplasty. Three reoperations were for recurrent intimal hyperplasia, one for disease distal to the anastomosis, and one for concomitant atherosclerotic disease. Based on available data, postexercise ankle-brachial indices were improved in 18 of 23 limbs. Seventeen patients completed questions regarding satisfaction: 10 were satisfied or very satisfied (zero graft, 10 patch; P = .25), while four were unsatisfied (three graft, two patch; P = .017, including one patient with both a patch and graft repair). All 20 patients for whom follow-up data were available are still cycling, 10 competitively. Two of the four reoperated patients were unsatisfied; all four are still cycling, one competitively.


External iliac arteriopathy is a disease of prolonged, sustained, and repetitive trauma. Patch angioplasty yields a low rate of reoperation, more satisfied patients, return to competitive activity, and improvement in postexercise ankle-brachial indices. Interposition grafting is associated with slightly older patients, more extensive disease, and less satisfying results. Intimal hyperplasia is the most frequent complication necessitating reoperation. Both the decision to pursue arterial reconstruction and patient expectations must be tempered by the pattern of disease and the potential for unsatisfactory results.

Copyright © 2012 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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