Introduction: Acute leg ischaemia (ALI) is a common vascular emergency for which new minimally invasive treatment options were introduced in the 1990s. The aim of this study was to determine recent hospital trends for ALI in England and to assess whether the introduction of the new treatment modalities had affected management.
Methods: Routine hospital data covering ALI were provided by Hospital Episode Statistics for the years 2000 to 2011 and mortality data were obtained from the Office for National Statistics. All data were age standardised, reported per 100,000 of the population, and stratified by age band (60-74 years and ≥75 years) and sex.
Results: Hospital admissions have risen significantly from 60.3 to 94.3 per 100,000 of the population, with an average annual increase of 6.2% since 2003 (p<0.001). The rise was greater in the older age group (from 79.9 to 134.4 vs 49.3 to 73.0) and yet procedures for ALI have shown a significant decrease since 2000 from 14.3 to 12.4 per 100,000 (p=0.013), independent of age and sex. Open embolectomy of the femoral artery remains the most common procedure and the proportion of endovascular interventions showed only a small increase. Only a few deaths were attributed to ALI (range: 95-150 deaths per year).
Conclusions: Hospital workload for ALI has increased, particularly since 2003, but this trend does not appear to have translated into increased endovascular or surgical activity.