From January 1979 to March 1984, percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) was used to treat 148 limbs of 135 Mayo Clinic patients with occlusive arterial disease of the lower extremities. The procedure was technically successful in more than 95% of the attempts. The outcome was clinical improvement in 89 limbs and no improvement in 40 limbs; in 19 limbs, PTA was technically successful but the patient was dismissed from the hospital and lost to follow-up before the extent of improvement could be determined. Mean ankle/brachial pressure indices increased after PTA in those with clinical improvement but not in those without improvement. Clinical improvement was less likely to follow PTA in patients with advanced age, diabetes, severe initial symptoms, low ankle/brachial indices, or distal occlusive disease. In patients with improvement after PTA, the mean follow-up period was 33 months; during that time, failure (defined as recurrence of the original symptoms or the need for repeat PTA or operation) occurred at a rate of 6.4% per year. Serious complications occurred after three procedures (2.0%). We conclude that PTA is technically feasible and generally safe for many patients with occlusive arterial disease of the lower limbs.
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