Background: The Bypass versus Angioplasty in Severe Ischaemia of the Leg (BASIL) trial showed in patients with severe lower limb ischemia (rest pain, tissue loss) who survive for 2 years after intervention that initial randomization to bypass surgery, compared with balloon angioplasty, was associated with an improvement in subsequent amputation-free survival and overall survival of about 6 and 7 months, respectively. The aim of this report is to describe the angiographic severity and extent of infrainguinal arterial disease in the BASIL trial cohort so that the trial outcomes can be appropriately generalized to other patient cohorts with similar anatomic (angiographic) patterns of disease.
Methods: Preintervention angiograms were scored using the Bollinger method and the TransAtlantic Inter-Society Consensus (TASC) II classification system by three consultant interventional radiologists and two consultant vascular surgeons unaware of the treatment received or patient outcomes.
Results: As was to be expected from the randomization process, patients in the two trial arms were well matched in terms of angiographic severity and extent of disease as documented by Bollinger and TASC II. In patients with the least overall disease, it tended to be concentrated in the superficial femoral and popliteal arteries, which were the commonest sites of disease overall. The below knee arteries became increasingly involved as the overall severity of disease increased, but the disease in the above knee arteries did not tend to worsen. The posterior tibial artery was the most diseased crural artery, whereas the peroneal appeared relatively spared. There was less interobserver disagreement with the Bollinger method than with the TASC II classification system, which also appears inherently less sensitive to clinically important differences in infrapopliteal disease among patients with severe leg ischemia.
Conclusions: Anatomic (angiographic) disease description in patients with severe leg ischemia requires a reproducible scoring system that is sensitive to differences in crural artery disease. The Bollinger system appears well suited for this purpose, but the TASC II classification system less so. We hope this detailed analysis will facilitate appropriate generalization of the BASIL trial data to other groups of patients affected by similar anatomic (angiographic) patterns of disease.
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