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Diabetes Care. 1996 Nov;19(11):1261-4.

Feasibility and effectiveness of peripheral percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty in diabetic subjects with foot ulcers.

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Diabetology Center, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of this vascular procedure in diabetic inpatients with foot ulcers.


In 80 consecutive inpatient diabetic subjects with a foot ulcer, an angiographic study of the lower limbs was carried out to evaluate the necessity and possibility of performing vascular procedures. In 22 subjects, vascular procedure was not necessary; in 26 subjects, peripheral transluminal angioplasty was carried out; in 10 subjects, angioplasty was considered impossible and a peripheral bypass graft was performed; and in 22 subjects, no vascular procedure was considered possible.


Of the 26 angioplasties, 8 were performed in iliac or femoral arteries and 18 were performed in the popliteal artery and its branches. The angioplasty was considered unsuccessful in 4 subjects and successful in 22. After angioplasty, on discharge, parameters of limb perfusion improved significantly: transcutaneous oxygen tension was 27.0 +/- 14 mm/Hg on admission and 44.6 +/- 14 mm/Hg on discharge (P < 0.001); ankle-brachial index was 0.61 +/- 0.23 on admission and 0.77 +/- 0.20 on discharge (P = 0.018). Of 22 subjects who underwent successful angioplasty, 21 ended the follow-up of 12 months: during this period, they showed no relapses in the salvaged limb, and their parameters of limb perfusion did not significantly vary.


Angioplasty is feasible in a large percentage of diabetic subjects with peripheral occlusive arterial disease and foot ulcer and is often also practicable in the popliteal artery and its branches. In these subjects, angioplasty significantly improves the parameters of limb perfusion. Angioplasty is therefore an important therapeutic tool in ulcerated diabetic foot care.

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