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The treatment of disabling intermittent claudication in patients with superficial femoral artery occlusive disease--decision analysis.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the preferred approach to superficial femoral artery (SFA) revascularization of Trans-Atlantic Inter-Societal Consensus (TASC) B and C lesions in claudicants requiring intervention based on a review of published data.

DESIGN: Decision analysis, Markov state transition model.

SUBJECTS: Hypothetical cohorts of claudicants with TASC B or TASC C superficial femoral artery lesions considered candidates for either angioplasty with selective stenting (PTA/S) or greater saphenous vein bypass (GSVB).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Quality adjusted life years (QALYs).

RESULTS: For a 65-year-old man with disabling claudication, percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and selective stenting (PTA/S) was preferred over GSVB for a TASC B SFA lesion. In an otherwise identical patient with a TASC C lesion, bypass was the preferred therapy. Treating PTA/S failures with subsequent bypass increased the utility of PTA/S but bypass remained the preferred initial therapy for TASC C lesions. Sensitivity analysis showed that PTA/S surpasses bypass efficacy for TASC C lesions if PTA/S primary patency is >32% at 5 years, patient age is >80 years, or GSVB operative mortality is >6%.

CONCLUSION: PTA/S is the preferred initial therapy over GSVB for TASC B SFA lesions in patients with disabling intermittent claudication who require intervention. Given contemporary published outcomes for TASC C lesions, GSVB is the preferred therapy in operative candidates. In elderly patients or patients at high risk for bypass, PTA/S should be considered over GSVB. Improved technology that results in a 5-year primary patency of 32% would also justify PTA/S for TASC C SFA lesions.

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