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Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2012 Jun 1;79(7):1188-93. doi: 10.1002/ccd.23361. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Retrograde popliteal access as bail-out strategy for challenging occlusions of the superficial femoral artery: a multicenter registry.

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Division of Cardiology, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.



The concomitant use of femoral and popliteal accesses has been recommended for challenging superficial femoral artery (SFA) occlusions, but no comprehensive comparison of this approach to a strategy of femoral access only is available. We thus aimed to appraise the risk-benefit balance of retrograde popliteal access as bail-out strategy for SFA occlusions.


Consecutive patients with symptomatic SFA occlusion and undergoing percutaneous revascularization were enrolled. We distinguished patients in whom retrograde popliteal access was required as bail-out strategy versus those not requiring such access. The primary end-point was procedural success.


A total of 130 patients (152 limbs) were included, with 23 patients (25 limbs) requiring retrograde popliteal access. Occlusion length was 20.6 ± 8.8 cm in those requiring popliteal access versus 18.5 ± 8.5 cm in those without popliteal access, with TASC C/D lesions in 23 (92%) versus 106 (83%). Procedural success was achieved in 92 out of 107 patients (86.0%) treated with a standard approach and 22 out of 23 patients (95.7%) treated with retrograde popliteal access (total 114 out of 130 [87.7%]) and 112 out of 127 limbs (88.2%) and 24 out of 25 limbs (96.0%), respectively (total 136 out of 152 [89.5%]). No significant increase in early or long-term adverse events was associated with retrograde popliteal access.


Whenever standard access sites do not enable successful recanalization of SFA occlusions, retrograde popliteal access can be safely and effectively envisioned as bail-out strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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