Purpose: To compare the performance of drug-coated balloons (DCB) and drug-eluting stents (DES) in long femoropopliteal lesions.
Methods: A retrospective dual center study included 228 patients (139 men; median age 69 years) with femoropopliteal lesions ≥10 cm suffering from peripheral artery disease (Rutherford categories 1-5) treated either with DCB or DES. Propensity score stratification was used to minimize bias. The 131 DCB patients (77 men; mean age 68.9±10.5 years) had a mean lesion length of 194.4±86.3 mm (range 100-450), while the 97 DES patients (62 men; mean age 68.2±8.0 years) had lesions averaging 195.0±64.5 mm (range 100-350) in length. Restenotic lesions were treated in 68 (51.9%) DCB patients and 43 (44.3%) DES patients; over half the lesions in both groups were total occlusions [DCB: 69 (52.7%), DES: 61 (62.9%)]. Outcome measures were patency (peak systolic velocity ratio <2.4), clinically driven target lesion revascularization (TLR), event-free survival, and freedom from worsening of Rutherford classification by ≥2 categories.
Results: In the DCB cohort, provisional stent placement was performed in 24 (18.3%) lesions for refractory stenosis (5, 3.8%), flow-limiting dissection (13, 9.9%), and other reasons (6, 4.6%). There was no procedure-related mortality in either cohort. The binary restenosis rates were 23.9% (26/109) and 30.4% (24/79, p=0.319) in the DCB and DES cohorts, respectively, and clinically driven TLR rates were 15.6% (17/109) vs. 19.0% (15/79, p=0.543), respectively. Estimates for freedom from clinically driven TLR and event-free survival were not different between the study cohorts nor were outcomes regarding the ankle-brachial index and Rutherford category.
Conclusion: DCB and DES perform equally well in the endovascular treatment of femoropopliteal lesions ≥10 cm and better than traditional endovascular treatment. In a real world setting of TASC C and D lesions, the provisional stent rate in the DCB cohort is low.
Keywords: drug-coated balloon; drug-eluting balloon; drug-eluting stent; femoropopliteal segment; occlusion; paclitaxel; peripheral artery disease; popliteal artery; provisional stenting; restenosis; stenosis; superficial femoral artery.