Author(s): Barnes RW
Preoperative Doppler ultrasonic assessment of below-knee (BK) arterial signals and systolic blood pressures was performed on 50 patients undergoing 53 BK amputations for advanced ischemia. No patient was excluded from initial BK amputation unless gangrene at that level or severe joint contracture was present. Failure of healing of the BK amputation occurred in all five limbs with an undetectable Doppler arterial signal (and thus pressure) below the knee. Failure of amputation occurred in four of 16 limbs with detectable arterial signals and BK pressures less than 70 mm. Hg. Healing occurred in all 32 limbs with BK pressures greater than 70 mm. Hg. The differences in healing between these three groups are highly significant (p less than 0.005). This study suggests that Doppler ultrasonic assessment of BK arterial signals and pressures may be a simple hemodynamic correlate of healing of a BK amputation. Absence of a detectable arterial signal below the knee may be an indication for initial above-knee (AK) amputation in advanced ischemia.