• Inês Antunes Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Carlos Pereira Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Luís Loureiro Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Gabriela Teixeira Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Carlos Veiga Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Daniel Mendes Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Carlos Veterano Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Henrique Rocha Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • João Castro Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Rui Almeida Serviço de Angiologia e Cirurgia Vascular, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Keywords: venous arterialization, critical limb ischemia, major amputation, revascularization procedures


Introduction: Between 14–20% of patients with critical lower-limb ischemia (CLI) are not candidates for revascularization due to extensive occlusions in crural/pedal vessels. Frequently these patients are young and functionally active. In these cases, the concept of shunting blood through veins to get this reversed flow to reach the nutritive tissue capillary bed becomes attractive. Our aim is to report our very recent experience in venous arterialization.

Material/Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the cases of venous arterialization performed in our institution between April 2018–2019.

Results: Four patients were treated: 3 males/1 female with mean age of 58.5 years. All patients had PAD stage 4. All patients were studied with arteriography and ultrasound and were considerate no revascularizable (2 of them after an attempt of endovascular/surgical treatment). In one patient a trial with endovenous prostaglandin was performed, without clinical response. In all cases, the patients were facing a major amputation. Arterialization was performed as a last attempt to save the limb. Regarding the surgical procedures, the donor inflow artery was the infragenicular popliteal artery in 2 cases, distal femoral artery in 1 case and anterior tibial artery in 1 case. In 3 cases the bypass used the great saphenous vein (GSV) in situ to arterialize the medial marginal vein; in 1 case was used an inverted GSV bypass with the distal anastomosis at the posterior tibial vein. The venous valves were destroyed by combination of Fogarty catheter (proximally) and angioplasty balloon (distally). Collaterals were ligated to focalize the blood flow. In all patients marked improvement in foot perfusion was achieved. Two of them had excellent evolution in the postoperative period and healed foot lesions. One patient was amputated with permeable bypass. One patient presented good initial evolution but later had bypass thrombosis (presum- ably due to inadequate arterial inflow from the anterior tibial artery) and undergone major amputation.

Discussion/Conclusions: Despite advances in surgical and endovascular techniques, an important number of patients with CLI are not candidates to arterial revascularization and most patients with inoperable CLI will face a major amputation. In that setting, venous arterialization should be considered but not all patients are candidates to this procedure and a careful preoperative evaluation is required. Our preliminary experience is encouraging: the procedure was relatively straightforward, the resulting improve in foot perfusion was surprisingly good, the patency rate and limb salvage rate was 75 and 50%. In our opinion the major issues are selection of inflow artery and outflow vein and the learning curve in interpretation of the angiographic result to guide optimal focalization of the blood flow.


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