Short (1-10 cm) superficial femoral artery occlusions: results of treatment with excimer laser angioplasty.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and long-term results after laser angioplasty of short occlusions of the superficial femoral artery (SFA). METHODS: In a prospective trial in 312 patients with short occlusions of the SFA excimer laser angioplasty for recanalization was applied. The average occlusion length of the SFA was 7.5 cm (range 1-10 cm). The recanalization attempt was done using either a cross-over technique from the contralateral femoral artery (278 patients), antegrade technique (16 patients) or transpopliteal technique (18 patients). RESULTS: Percutaneous transluminal laser angioplasty (PTLA) produced successful recanalization of the SFA in 286 of 312 patients (91.7%). In 26 patients (8.3%) recanalization was not possible. The reason for the unsuccessful PTLAs was obstructing calcified materialn = 8) which was resistant to laser application. In nine cases obstructing calcifications resulted in positioning of the laser catheter in subintimal tissue or perforation of the SFA. In another four patients there was an aberrant anatomy of the SFA which resulted in a direct vessel injury after advancing the laser catheter. In five patients subintimal recanalization failed. After a follow-up period of 36 months there was a primary, primary assisted and secondary patency rate of 49.2%, 76.5% and 86.3%. CONCLUSION: Excimer laser angioplasty of short occlusions of the SFA is a feasible procedure with a low failure rate. Long-term results are promising but additional interventions are required in most patients to achieve a patency rate of 86.3% after 3 years. Further studies are needed to compare the clinical outcome of PTLA and PTA in short occlusions of the SFA.