Infrapopliteal arterial revascularization for critical limb ischemia: is the peroneal artery at the distal third a suitable outflow vessel?

Enzo Ballotta, Giuseppe Da Giau, Mario Gruppo, Franco Mazzalai, Bruno Martella
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2008, 47 (5): 952-9

PURPOSE: Though the peroneal artery (PA) often remains patent despite disease or occlusion of other infrapopliteal arteries, there is skepticism about using the terminal PA as the outflow tract in distal revascularizations for limb salvage, especially when a patent inframalleolar artery is available. We analyzed our experience of using the distal PA and inframalleolar or pedal branches arteries as outflow tracts in revascularizations for critical limb ischemia.

METHODS: Over a decade, among 651 infrapopliteal arterial reconstructions performed in 597 patients, the PA was the outflow vessel in 214, its distal third being involved in 69 vein revascularizations (study group). During the same period, 187 vein bypass grafts were performed to 179 inframalleolar and 8 pedal branches arteries (control group). Patency, limb salvage and survival rates were assessed using Kaplan-Meier life-table analysis. Complete follow-up (range, 0.1-10.2 years; mean, 5.8 years) was obtained in 245 (95.7%) patients (66 were in the study group).

RESULTS: The distal PA was chosen as the target vessel: (1) because the proximal, mid-PA was occluded or severely diseased and no other adequate inframalleolar or pedal branches arteries were identified preoperatively (n = 30; 43.5%); (2) because an alternative inframalleolar target vessel was present but severely diseased (n = 9; 13%); (3) because of the length limitations of the available vein (n = 12; 17.4%; or (4) because of the presence of invasive infection or necrosis overlying the dorsalis pedis or posterior tibial arteries (n = 18; 26.1%). The study group was significantly younger than the control group (68 +/- 7 years vs 70 +/- 6 years, P = .039), and included significantly more patients with diabetes mellitus (65.2% vs 50.2%, P = .033) and insulin dependence (52.2% vs 37.9%, P = .041), dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (5.8% vs 1.1%, P = .047), and history of smoking (75.3% vs 58.2%, P = .012). None of the patients died in the perioperative period. Although the overall need for minor amputation was statistically higher in the PA group (78.2% vs 63.1%, P = .022), especially as concerns partial calcanectomy (8.7% vs 2.1%, P = .026), the proportion of wounds completely healed during the follow-up and the mean time to wound healing were comparable in the two groups. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed comparable long-term patency, limb salvage, and survival rates in the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Revascularization to the distal third of the PA can achieve much the same outcome in terms of patency and limb salvage rates, wound healing rate and timing, as when other inframalleolar or pedal branches are used. The skepticism surrounding use of the terminal PA as an outflow vessel appears to be unwarranted.

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