Background: Endovascular therapy is a treatment option for localized occlusion of the subclavian artery. In this report the long-term experience with 59 patients is presented.
Methods: Between June 1998 and September 2008, we used endovascular therapy to treat 61 subclavian arterial obstructive lesions in 59 patients (46 males and 13 females, 34 - 82 years of age with a mean age (61.9 + or - 11.0) years). Twenty patients (34%) had clinical symptoms due to vertebrobasilar insufficiency, 26 (44%) had disabling arm ischemia, and 13 (22%) had both symptoms. We performed all procedures under local anesthesia. The approaches were from the femoral artery (n = 47), brachial artery (n = 1, involving bilateral subclavian disease) or both (n = 11). Sixty stents were implanted. All patients were followed-up at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months post-procedure, and annually thereafter.
Results: We achieved technical success in 58 (95.1%) arteries, all of which were stented. There were three technical failures; two were due to the inability to cross over an occlusion, necessitating the switch to an axillo-axillary bypass, and the third was due to shock after digital subtraction angiography and prior to stenting. Arterial stenosis pre- and post-stenting was (83.6 + or - 10.8)% and (2.5 + or - 12.5)% (P < 0.01). Clinical success was achieved in 55 of the 59 patients (93.4%). Of the four clinical failures, three were technical and the remaining patient had a stent thrombosis. Systolic blood pressure difference between the two brachial arteries was (44.7 + or - 18.5) vs. (2.2 + or - 3.9) mmHg (P < 0.01). Primary patency was 98% at 12 months, 93% at 24 months, and 82% at 5 years. Five patients were lost to follow-up by 12 months post-stenting. Significant recurrent obstruction developed in five patients with resumption of clinical symptoms. The overall survival rate was 98.2% at 12 months, 89.5% at 24 months, and 84.5% at 5 years.
Conclusions: Endovascular therapy for proximal subclavian arterial obstructive lesions is effective and successful. This minimally invasive treatment may be the first choice of treatment for proximal subclavical arterial obstructive lesions.