Outcome of catheter-directed thrombolysis for lower extremity arterial bypass occlusion

Mark R. Nehler, Renee J. Mueller, Robert B. McLafferty, Steven P. Johnson, Jeremy D. Nussbaum, Mark A. Mattos, Thomas A. Whitehill, Anne L. Esler, Kim J. Hodgson, William C. Krupski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical outcome of patients undergoing catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) for lower extremity arterial bypass (LEAB) occlusion. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of two university-based practices from 1988 to 2001. All patients with LEAB occlusion (<14 days by history) undergoing CDT as initial treatment were included. Technical success, complications, secondary patency, and limb salvage were examined. Additional analysis examined secondary procedures performed for residual lesions or failed CDT and the number of LEABs that were replaced or that became infected. Results: One hundred four patients (77% male; mean age, 65 years) had 109 LEAB occlusions. CDT restored patency in 77%. Of the 25 LEABs that failed initial CDT, 15 underwent surgical thrombectomy/revision, four were replaced, and six underwent no further interventions. Of the 84 LEABs successfully lysed, 51 had residual lesions that underwent revision with interventional (n = 30) or surgical (n = 15) techniques or both (n = 6). Median hospital stay was 8 days with three periprocedural deaths. One quarter of CDT procedures had bleeding or thrombotic complications or both. The mean follow-up period was 45 months. Secondary patency rates on an intention-to-treat basis (attempted thrombolysis) were 32% and 19% at 1 and 5 years, respectively. After successful CDT, the 1-year secondary patency rate was comparable in LEABs with or without residual lesions (42% versus 45%). Overall, the limb salvage rates were 73% and 55% at 1 and 5 years, respectively. The survival rate was 56% at 5 years. Ten of the 54 LEABs (19%) that eventually failed after successful CDT had three or more reocclusive episodes. Seven LEABs (8.3%) salvaged with CDT eventually became infected from recurrent interventions; six of these necessitated major amputation. Twenty LEABs initially salvaged with CDT were replaced (four immediately and 16 after episodes of recurrent ischemia). Two patients died during hospitalization for treatment of recurrent ischemia. Conclusion: Despite relatively high initial technical success for LEAB thrombolysis, eventual failure is the rule rather than the exception. Recurrent LEAB occlusions lead to significant morbidity, including recurrent interventions, eventual graft infection/replacement, and limb loss. However, LEAB replacement has substantial problems associated with limited conduit, reoperative anatomy, and subsequent wound complications. We therefore advocate an initial attempt at CDT with liberal use of graft replacement for early and late failures or as an initial strategy in those with favorable remaining conduit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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