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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2005 August;46(4):371-84

language: English

Future perspectives in the treatment of femoro-popliteal arterial occlusions

Gisbertz S. S. 1, Hissink R. J. 2, de Vries J.-P. P. M. 1, Moll F. L. 2

1 Department of Vascular Surgery St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
2 Department of Vascular Surgery University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Femoro-popliteal occlusive disease represents the most frequent localization of atherosclerosis in the lower extremities. Treatment of this disease has changed remarkably in the last decade. A definite treatment strategy has still to be established. The pathophysiology is described. A general overview of the state-of-the art treatment modalities and the most recent developments is given. This is divided into non-interventional preventive and supportive therapy, endovascular interventional therapy, and surgical interventional therapy. The development of medical therapy has expanded enormously and is progressing still. In the wide range of interventional treatment modalities, there has been a change from invasive bypass surgery to more refined techniques like endarterectomy and percutaneous endovascular therapy. This trend towards restoring the patency of the artery using the vessel wall itself as a conduit, leads to a term encompassing all these treatment modalities, known as restorative intervention. Peri-procedural risks of restorative interventions are of a much lesser degree compared to bypass surgery. Reports of patency rates show a steady increase. It is expected that patency rates will eventually equal or even surpass those of bypass surgery. In conclusion, a treatment strategy for femoro-popliteal occlusions in the future is proposed as follows: the first line of interventional therapy in femoro-popliteal occlusions should be a restorative intervention. With adequate adjuvant medical therapy and sufficient monitoring, this will be the definite treatment for the majority of patients. Bypass surgery should be regarded as the second line of interventional therapy and should be reserved for those patients in whom restorative interventions fail.

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