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Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2019 Feb;42(2):178-185. doi: 10.1007/s00270-018-2129-3. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Percutaneous Mechanical Thromboembolectomy in Acute Lower Limb Ischemia.

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Department of Radiology, Klinikum Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany.
Department of Radiology, Klinikum Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany.
Department of Vascular Surgery, Klinikum Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany.



To analyze the immediate outcome of percutaneous mechanical thromboembolectomy in acute infrainguinal leg ischemia in a consecutive cohort of patients with acute lower limb ischemia.


We retrospectively analyzed the data of 156 acute infrainguinal ischemic events in 148 patients. Patients presented with acute limb ischemia Rutherford category I in 68 cases (44%), Rutherford category II A in 64 instances (41%) and Rutherford II B in 24 instances (15%). In 62 cases (39.7%), the occlusion site started below the knee joint level, in 94 (60.3%) cases above. As a basic technique, an intervention was started by manual aspiration but if aspiration failed, an additional device was added. Most frequently, a rotational thrombectomy device (Rotarex, Straub Medical, Wangs, Switzerland) was used. An antegrade access to the femoral artery was the preferred access to the limb (154/156).


In 145 of 156 incidents, a technical success was achieved (93%). Aspiration was used in 153 cases (98%). Rotational thrombectomy by use of the Rotarex catheter was added in 60 cases (38%). Directional atherectomy was applied in a total of five patients. As main technical complications, a downward embolization occurred (nā€‰=ā€‰11). There were four surgical groin revisions. Five patients died during the early follow-up with four not related to the intervention. Clinically, 135 patients (86.5%) showed an improvement in their clinical situation.


Acute lower limb ischemia can be successfully treated by mechanical thromboembolectomy only by combining aspiration embolectomy with rotational thrombectomy in most cases but manual aspiration alone will frequently fail especially above the knee joint level.


Acute ischemia; Arterial occlusion; Aspiration embolectomy; Mechanical thrombectomy; Rotational thrombectomy

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