Introduction: Subintimal angioplasty has been proposed for the treatment of long segment occlusive disease and for patients with critical limb ischaemia (CLI) with significant co-morbidity. There is no consensus as to short- and long-term patency. We present our experience with this technique.
Methods: Between 1995 and 2000, 43 consecutive patients (48 limbs) underwent subintimal angioplasty for superficial femoral artery occlusions. Outcome measures were haemodynamic and/or symptomatic patency.
Results: Technical success was achieved in 14/17 limbs with CLI (82%) and 30/31 (97%) with intermittent claudication (IC). There were 7 complications (15%), 6 occurring in the claudicant group. The median occlusion length was 10 cm for CLI and 6 cm for IC. Patency at 12 and 36 months, on an intention-to-treat basis, was 69% and 58% for claudicants and 25% and 25% for patients with CLI (P = 0.0005 and P = 0.0044, respectively). Following only technically successful procedures, 12-month patency was 72% (IC) and 31% (CLI) (P = 0.009). Patients with occlusions > or = 10 cm were more likely to re-occlude than those < 10 cm (12-month patency 60% versus 25%;P = 0.037).
Conclusions: In this series, short- and long-term patency in patients with CLI is poor. Subintimal angioplasty in the treatment of CLI should be reserved for those patients not fit for surgical bypass.