Early and late presentations of radiation arteritis

Semin Vasc Surg. 2003 Sep;16(3):209-14. doi: 10.1016/s0895-7967(03)00026-7.


Radiotherapy (XRT) plays a prominent role in the therapy of a variety of malignancies. Improved survival for malignancies treated with XRT has produced a growing subset of patients who present several years later with arterial occlusive disease in the irradiated field. Establishing a presumptive diagnosis of radiation arteritis (RA) is based on clinical history and the arteriographic appearance of lesions. The lesions of RA often occur in atypical locations with adjacent arterial beds largely spared of atherosclerosis. The indications for intervention for RA do not differ significantly from atherosclerotic arterial lesions. In most cases, RA lesions do not merit treatment unless they become symptomatic. However, asymptomatic carotid artery lesions should be considered for intervention because they are particularly prone to progression and development of neurologic symptoms. Percutaneous and endovascular techniques are viable treatment options for lesions with favorable anatomy. Operative interventions often require extraanatomic approaches and autogenous conduits to optimize outcomes in irradiated fields.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteritis / diagnosis
  • Arteritis / etiology*
  • Arteritis / physiopathology
  • Arteritis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors