Author(s): Ouriel K, Fiore WM, Geary JE
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Abstract The clinical courses of 362 patients with threatened limbs, seen over a 25-year period, were reviewed. Below-knee amputation was elected in 158 patients and infrainguinal revascularization in 204 patients. Patients were excluded from the study if amputation was chosen on the basis of arteriographic findings, diffuse infection, or extensive tissue loss. In an effort to compare the two treatment modalities in a minimally biased fashion, patients were stratified into three classes on the basis of the Goldman Multifactorial Index of Cardiac Risk and the American Society of Anesthesiology classification. Within each class, patients treated with amputation and with bypass were comparable with respect to age, sex, severity of ischemia, and anesthetic technique. Patients who underwent revascularization had a lower perioperative mortality rate (p less than 0.05), a shorter length of hospital stay (p less than 0.05), and an increased long-term survival rate (p less than 0.05) than the medically matched subgroup of patients who underwent amputation. Patients in the revascularization group were more successful in regaining ambulatory abilities than patients in the amputation group (p less than 0.01). These differences were most significant as the degree of medical compromise increased. Although medically compromised patients have frequently been denied revascularization on the basis of presumed increases in surgical risk and decreased long-term survival, the data appear to suggest that it is precisely the patients of this group who appear to benefit the most from attempts at limb salvage.
This article was published in Surgery
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