Failure of foot salvage in patients with end-stage renal disease after surgical revascularization

J Vasc Surg. 1995 Sep;22(3):280-5; discussion 285-6. doi: 10.1016/s0741-5214(95)70142-7.


Purpose: This report ascertained factors responsible for for failure of foot salvage in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) after undergoing infrainguinal bypass for critical ischemia.

Methods: A retrospective review of 69 distal arterial reconstructions performed in 53 patients with ESRD (hemodialysis [n = 37], kidney transplantation [n = 10], peritoneal dialysis [n = 6]) for foot gangrene (n = 28), nonhealing ulcer (n = 25), or ischemic rest pain (n = 16) was conducted. Endpoints of surgical morbidity, limb loss, and graft patency were correlated with extent of preoperative tissue loss and presence of diabetes mellitus.

Results: The 30-day operative mortality rate was 10%, and the patient survival rate at 2 years was 38%. The primary graft patency rate was 96% at 30 days, 72% at 1 year, and 68% at 2 years. Eleven of 22 foot amputations performed during the mean follow-up period of 14 months (range 3 to 96 months) occurred within 2 months of revascularization. Mechanisms responsible for limb loss included graft failure (n = 9), foot ischemia despite a patent bypass (n = 8), and uncontrolled infection (n = 5). Overall, 59% of amputations were performed in limbs with a patent bypass to popliteal or tibial arteries. Healing of forefoot amputations was prolonged, but all limb loss beyond 9 months of revascularization was due to graft failure. The limb salvage rate at 1 year decreased (p = 0.13) from 74% to 51% in patients admitted with gangrene. Only two of seven patients admitted with forefoot gangrene experienced foot salvage.

Conclusion: Failure of foot salvage in patients with ESRD and critical ischemia was due to wound healing problems rather than graft thrombosis. Earlier referral for revascularization, before development of extensive tissue ischemia and infection, is recommended. Primary amputation should be considered in patients admitted with forefoot gangrene, particularly if it is complicated by infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation
  • Female
  • Foot / blood supply*
  • Foot / surgery
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / complications
  • Ischemia / mortality
  • Ischemia / surgery*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure
  • Vascular Patency
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures