Background: This study was undertaken to evaluate the outcome of infrainguinal arterial reconstruction in a high-risk subset of patients with end-stage renal disease.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records of 44 patients requiring maintenance dialysis and undergoing 57 infrainguinal bypass procedures for limb salvage from 1986 to 1992. These included 16 (28%) femoropopliteal and 41 (72%) tibial or pedal bypasses with autogenous (82%), prosthetic (12%), or composite (6%) graft materials. The principal indications for operation were ischemic ulceration or gangrene (79%) and rest pain (21%). Angiographic evaluation most frequently showed single-vessel runoff (56%). Risk factors included age (mean, 63 years), diabetes (75%), hypertension (93%), coronary artery disease (52%), smoking (39%), previous myocardial infarction (20%), and contralateral amputation (18%). Infection was present in 22 limbs (39%).
Results: Early (30-day) surgical morbidity rate was 39%, including wound breakdown (19%), graft thrombosis (9%), and major amputation (4%). Perioperative mortality rate was 9%. Cumulative primary graft patency rates were 71% and 63%, secondary patency rates were 80% and 66%, and limb salvage rates were 70% and 52% at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Limb loss correlated most highly with the presence of preoperative infection (p = 0.036; log-rank method). Patient survival rate was 52% at 2 years.
Conclusions: Life-table analysis confirms a poor life expectancy for this population but indicates that an acceptable level of limb salvage may be achieved with arterial reconstruction in properly selected patients.