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September 1993

Popliteal-Tibial Bypass Grafts in the Management of Limb-Threatening Ischemia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, Loma Linda (Calif) University Medical Center.

Arch Surg. 1993;128(9):976-981. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420210036005

Objectives:  To ascertain the cumulative rates of primary graft patency and limb salvage and the frequency of proximal arterial disease progression in patients with autologous saphenous vein bypass grafts that originate from the popliteal artery and whose operative indication was limb-threatening ischemia.

Design:  Five-year retrospective study with follow-up that ranged from less than 1 month to 60 months.

Setting:  Tertiary care center.

Patients:  Twenty-four threatened limbs in 23 patients were reviewed. Surgical indications included gangrene in 15 limbs (63%), rest pain in seven limbs (29%), and a nonhealing ulcer in two limbs (8%). Patients with previous ipsilateral infrainguinal arterial reconstructive procedures were excluded. Mean patient age was 66 years, and 18 patients 78% had insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Main Outcome Measures:  Percentages of primary graft patency and limb salvage were determined by the life-table method. Proximal arterial disease progression was assessed via follow-up arteriography or segmental limb pressures.

Results:  The cumulative rates of primary graft patency and limb salvage at 1, 3, and 5 years were 73%, 59%, and 59%, and 87%, 57%, and 57%, respectively. No patient developed proximal arterial disease progression that required intervention during the study period.

Conclusions:  The cumulative rates of primary graft patency and limb salvage were essentially the same, which indicated poorly collateralized limbs that are solely dependent on the graft. There did not appear to be a critical progression of proximal arterial disease that would warrant a more proximal graft origin. A short autologous saphenous vein graft that originates from the above-knee or below-knee popliteal artery is a durable bypass.(Arch Surg. 1993;128:976-981)