Percutaneous transluminal laser angioplasty versus balloon dilation for treatment of popliteal artery occlusions.
PURPOSE: To compare the immediate results, complication rates, and long-term outcomes of percutaneous transluminal laser angioplasty (PTLA) versus balloon dilation alone in the treatment of popliteal artery occlusions. METHODS: In a prospective nonrandomized study conducted between December 1994 and June 2000, 215 symptomatic patients with unilateral popliteal occlusions were treated with either dilation alone (88 patients: 52 men; mean age 62 years, range 48-83) or PTLA (127 patients: 70 men; mean age 64 years, range 49-86) using a 308-nm excimer laser followed by dilation. The average occlusion length was 10.4 cm (range 3-14). RESULTS: PTLA was successful in recanalizing 105 (82.7%) arteries, while the recanalization rate for dilation alone was only 70.4% (62/88; p=0.045). After a mean follow-up of 36 months (range 6-52), the primary and secondary patency rates were 21.7% and 50.8%, respectively, in patients with PTLA and 16.3% and 35.2% in the angioplasty group (p=0.762). The complication rates associated with both techniques were similar. CONCLUSIONS: Although initial recanalization may be better with PTLA, it does not appear to add any long-term benefit over balloon dilation alone.