Indications for a "Surgery-First" Approach for the Treatment of Lower Extremity Arterial Disease

Ann Vasc Surg. 2023 Oct:96:241-252. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2023.03.028. Epub 2023 Apr 5.


Background: In recent years, there has been a tendency toward an "endovascular-first" approach for the treatment for femoropopliteal arterial disease. The purpose of this study is to determine if there are patients that are better served with an initial femoropopliteal bypass (FPB) rather than an endovascular attempt at revascularization.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of all patients undergoing FPB between June 2006 - December 2014 was performed. Our primary endpoint was primary graft patency, defined as patent using ultrasound or angiography without secondary intervention. Patients with <1-year follow-up were excluded. Univariate analysis of factors significant for 5-year patency was performed using χ2 tests for binary variables. A binary logistic regression analysis incorporating all factors identified as significant by univariate analysis was used to identify independent risk factors for 5-year patency. Event-free graft survival was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier models.

Results: We identified 241 patients undergoing FPB on 272 limbs. FPB indication was disabling claudication in 95 limbs, chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) in 148, and popliteal aneurysm in 29. In total, 134 FPB were saphenous vein grafts (SVG), 126 were prosthetic grafts, 8 were arm vein grafts, and 4 were cadaveric/xenografts. There were 97 bypasses with primary patency at 5 or more years of follow-up. Grafts patent at 5 years by Kaplan-Meier analysis were more likely to have been performed for claudication or popliteal aneurysm (63% 5-year patency) as compared with CLTI (38%, P < 0.001). Statistically significant predictors (using log rank test) of patency over time were use of SVG (P = 0.015), surgical indication of claudication or popliteal aneurysm (P < 0.001), Caucasian race (P = 0.019) and no history of COPD (P = 0.026). Multivariable regression analysis confirmed these 4 factors as significant independent predictors of 5-year patency. Of note, there was no statistical correlation between FPB configuration (above or below knee anastomosis, in-situ versus reversed saphenous vein) and 5-year patency. There were 40 FPBs in Caucasian patients without a history of COPD receiving SVG for claudication or popliteal aneurysm that had a 92% estimated 5-year patency by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.

Conclusions: Long-term primary patency that was substantial enough to consider open surgery as a first intervention was demonstrated in Caucasian patients without COPD, having good quality saphenous vein, and who underwent FPB for claudication or popliteal artery aneurysm.

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm* / complications
  • Aneurysm* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aneurysm* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Claudication / diagnostic imaging
  • Intermittent Claudication / etiology
  • Intermittent Claudication / surgery
  • Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Ischemia / etiology
  • Ischemia / surgery
  • Lower Extremity / blood supply
  • Popliteal Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Popliteal Artery* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency