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Endovascular Treatment of Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger's Disease).

PURPOSE: When critical limb ischemia (CLI) occurs in patients with thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO) or Buerger's disease, smoking cessation alone may be insufficient to relieve rest pain and promote wound healing. Accordingly, adjunctive measures are warranted to restore adequate blood flow required for limb salvage. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) for the treatment of patients with TAO and CLI. In addition, a review of the literature on endovascular management of TAO is included.

METHODS: Between April 2012 and June 2017, all patients with TAO and CLI who underwent PTA were studied retrospectively. Patient demographics, presentation, procedural details, and clinical response were recorded. Patients were monitored at 1 week, 1, 2, 3, and 6 months after revascularization and at least every 6 months thereafter.

RESULTS: Thirteen patients with TAO and CLI, who presented with rest pain only (n = 1), ischemic ulcer (n = 4), or gangrene (n = 8) underwent endovascular interventions with primary and assisted primary technical success of 85% and 92%, respectively. A below-knee amputation was eventually done in the only patient with technical failure (limb salvage rate: 92%). Following the procedures, 11 patients had clinical response, one of whom also received intra-arterial vasodilator to achieve complete symptom relief. The other patient who failed PTA underwent a successful lumbar sympathectomy. In addition, all ulcers healed and eight minor amputations were performed due to already established gangrene. During follow-up (mean: 19.4 months), four patients needed reintervention. Patients who continued to smoke experienced more severe ischemia ( P = .017) and were more likely to require reintervention ( P = .009).

CONCLUSION: Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty can be considered as a technically feasible and potentially effective treatment for patients with TAO and CLI, as well as a last resort for limb salvage when other options have failed. However, reintervention may be required, especially in patients who continue smoking.

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