Purpose: To evaluate longer outcomes of primary nitinol stenting for the treatment of femoropopliteal lesions up to 15 cm long after these stents were found to have superior short-term patency vs. balloon angioplasty.
Methods: Two hundred and six patients (143 men; mean age 67 years) with intermittent claudication due to superficial femoral and proximal popliteal artery lesions were randomized (2:1) to treatment with nitinol stents or balloon angioplasty at 24 US and European centers and followed for 3 years. In that time, 15 patients died, 20 withdrew consent, and 10 were lost to follow-up, leaving 161 (78.2%) patients for 36-month assessment.
Results: The 12-month freedom from target lesion revascularization (TLR) was 87.3% for the stent group vs. 45.2% for the angioplasty group (p<0.0001). At 3 years, there was no difference in survival (90.0% vs. 91.7%, p=0.71) or major adverse events (75.2% vs. 75.2%, p=0.98) between the stent and angioplasty groups. Duplex ultrasound was not mandated after the first year, so stent patency could not be ascertained beyond 1 year, but freedom from TLR at 3 years was significantly better in the stent group (75.5% vs. 41.8%, p<0.0001), as was clinical success (63.2% vs. 17.9%, p<0.0001). At 18 months, a 4.1% (12/291) stent fracture rate was documented.
Conclusion: In this multicenter trial, primary implantation of a nitinol stent for moderate-length lesions in the femoropopliteal segment of patients with claudication was associated with better long-term results vs. balloon angioplasty alone.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00673985.