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J Vasc Surg. 2008 May;47(5):975-981. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2008.01.005. Epub 2008 Apr 18.

Meta-analysis of infrapopliteal angioplasty for chronic critical limb ischemia.

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Vascular Surgery Section, Department of Surgery, Health and Medical Sciences Sector, Lusiada Foundation, Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty has been used with increasing frequency in the treatment of infrainguinal arterial occlusive disease. This meta-analysis aimed to assess the middle-term outcomes after crural angioplasty in patients with chronic critical limb ischemia and compare results with a meta-analysis of popliteal-to-distal vein bypass graft.


Data were retrieved from 30 articles published from 1990 through 2006 (63% of articles published between 2000 and 2006). All studies used survival analysis, reported a 12-month cumulative rate of patency or limb salvage, and included at least 15 infrapopliteal angioplasties. The outcome measures were immediate technical success, primary and secondary patency, limb salvage, and patient survival. Data from life-tables, survival curves, and texts were used.


The pooled estimate of success was 89.0% +/- 2.2% for immediate technical result. Results at 1 and 36 months were 77.4% +/- 4.1% and 48.6% +/- 8.0% for primary patency, 83.3% +/- 1.4% and 62.9% +/- 11.0% for secondary patency, 93.4% +/- 2.3% and 82.4% +/- 3.4% for limb salvage, and 98.3% +/- 0.7% and 68.4% +/- 5.5% for patient survival, respectively. Studies with >75% of the limbs with tissue loss fared worse than their respective comparative subgroup for technical success and patency but not for limb salvage or survival. No publication bias was detected.


The technical success and subsequent durability of crural angioplasty are limited compared with bypass surgery, but the clinical benefit is acceptable because limb salvage rates are equivalent to bypass surgery. Further studies are necessary to determine the proper role of infrapopliteal angioplasty.

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