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Ann Surg. 2010 Nov;252(5):765-73. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181fc3c73.

Infrapopliteal percutaneous transluminal angioplasty versus bypass surgery as first-line strategies in critical leg ischemia: a propensity score analysis.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.



Recently, endovascular revascularization (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty [PTA]) has challenged surgery as a method for the salvage of critically ischemic legs (CLI). Comparison of surgical and endovascular techniques in randomized controlled trials is difficult because of differences in patient characteristics. To overcome this problem, we adjusted the differences by using propensity score analysis.


The study cohort comprised 1023 patients treated for CLI with 262 endovascular and 761 surgical revascularization procedures to their crural or pedal arteries. A propensity score was used for adjustment in multivariable analysis, for stratification, and for one-to-one matching.


In the overall series, PTA and bypass surgery achieved similar 5-year leg salvage (75.3% vs 76.0%), survival (47.5% vs 43.3%), and amputation-free survival (37.7% vs 37.3%) rates and similar freedom from any further revascularization (77.3% vs 74.4%), whereas freedom from surgical revascularization was higher after bypass surgery (94.3% vs 86.2%, P < 0.001). In propensity-score-matched pairs, outcomes did not differ, except for freedom from surgical revascularization, which was significantly higher in the bypass surgery group (91.4% vs 85.3% at 5 years, P = 0.045). In a subgroup of patients who underwent isolated infrapopliteal revascularization, PTA was associated with better leg salvage (75.5% vs 68.0%, P = 0.042) and somewhat lower freedom from surgical revascularization (78.8% vs 85.2%, P = 0.17). This significant difference in the leg salvage rate was also observed after adjustment for propensity score (P = 0.044), but not in propensity-score-matched pairs (P = 0.12).


When feasible, infrapopliteal PTA as a first-line strategy is expected to achieve similar long-term results to bypass surgery in CLI when redo surgery is actively utilized.

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