Very distal vein bypass in patients with thromboangiitis obliterans

Vasa . 2017 Jul;46(4):304-309. doi: 10.1024/0301-1526/a000624. Epub 2017 Mar 8.

Fecha de la publicación: 08/03/2017

Autor: Achim Neufang (1), Carolina Vargas-Gomez (1), Patrick Ewald (1), Nicolaos Vitolianos (1), Tolga Coskun (1), Nael Abu-Salim (2), Rainer Schmiedel (3), Peter von Flotow (3), Savvas Savvidis (I1)

Palabras clave: Bypass, Human, Limb salvage, Thromboangiitis obliterans, Vascular patency



1 Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Klinik, Department of Vascular Medicine, Wiesbaden, Germany.

2 Helios Dr. Horst Schmidt Klinik, Department of Radiology, Wiesbaden, Germany.

3 Westpfalzklinikum II Kusel, Department of Angiology, Kusel, Germany.


Background: Surgical revascularization for chronic critical limb ischaemia in patients with thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO) still remains controversial. Generally, besides cessation of smoking, conservative treatment supported by intravenous administration of vasoactive agents is regarded as the treatment of choice, in combination with local wound therapy or minor amputation.

Patients and methods: In four male patients (42-47 years) surgical revascularization was chosen as therapy for established gangrene or non-healing ulceration after unsuccessful conservative treatment and cessation of smoking. Angiography was able to identify a suitable distal arterial segment for the bypass which was revascularized by means of an autologous vein graft. Grafts were followed with repetitive duplex ultrasound. Revision of the bypass graft was initiated if indicated by pathological duplex findings.

Results: In all cases a bypass could be constructed with either the ipsilateral greater saphenous vein or arm veins. A distal origin configuration was possible in three cases with popliteo-pedal or cruro-pedal bypasses. In the fourth case the distal superficial femoral artery was used for inflow. Two early graft thromboses underwent successful revision. During follow-up, duplex ultrasound identified graft stenoses in three bypasses which were successfully treated with endovascular techniques. All grafts are patent with complete resolution of ischaemic symptoms after 46, 42, 32, and 29 months. The patients remained non-smokers and returned to a professional life.

Conclusions: Surgical therapy with distal vein bypass for persistent ischaemic symptoms after definitive cessation of smoking seems feasible in selected cases with TAO and a suitable distal artery. Close follow-ups of the patients with duplex ultrasound are necessary to identify developing vein graft stenoses. Angioplasty seems to be an important part of the long-term therapeutic concept.