Retrograde Pedal Access and Endovascular Revascularization: A Safe and Effective Technique for High-Risk Patients with Complex Tibial Vessel Disease

Hosam El-Sayed, Matthew E. Bennett, Thomas M. Loh, Mark G. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background Endovascular revascularization is an established approach for limb salvage in the setting of critical limb ischemia. However, failure rate of antegrade recanalization in complex femoropopliteal to infrapopliteal occlusions is as high as 20%. We report a series of 21 patients who underwent retrograde pedal access and recanalization of below-the-knee chronic total occlusions after failed antegrade attempts. Methods This is a retrospective review of prospectively maintained data for all patients who underwent ultrasound-guided percutaneous pedal access for retrograde endovascular treatment of advanced tibial vessel disease between 2011 and 2014. All patients had undergone prior unsuccessful attempts at antegrade revascularization. Pedal vessel access was followed by angioplasty with selective stenting and completion angiogram. Patients were followed up with duplex ultrasound to evaluate for patency. Time-dependent outcomes were determined by Kaplan–Meier survival analyses. Median follow-up was 9 months. Results A total of 21 patients (17 men, 4 women, mean age 68) underwent retrograde tibial recanalization. Eighty-one percent of the patients presented with Rutherford category 4, 5, or 6 critical limb ischemia. The average Prevent III amputation risk score was 7.0 ± 2.9. Eighteen patients (86%) were medium or high risk (Prevent III amputation risk score ≥ 4). Retrograde pedal access was successful in 95% of the patients (dorsalis pedis = 11, posterior tibial = 5, anterior tibial = 4). Retrograde revascularization was achieved in 14 patients (67%) using balloon angioplasty (n = 14) and additional stent placement (n = 2). Revascularization failed in 7 patients (33%). There were no pedal access site complications. Forty-eight percent of the patients experienced improvement or resolution of their symptoms. The 30-day major adverse cardiac events (MACE), major adverse limb events (MALE), and amputations were all 5%. At 1 year, limb salvage was 88 ± 8% with amputation-free survival of 61 ± 12% and freedom from MALE of 81 ± 10%. Primary assisted and secondary patencies were both 84 ± 10% at 1 year. Conclusions Early outcomes for ultrasound-guided retrograde pedal access show that it is safe, with low 30-day mortality, and a low rate of MACE. Freedom from MALE and limb salvage are both high at 1-year follow-up. This technique expands revascularization options after failed conventional endovascular antegrade approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Retrograde Pedal Access and Endovascular Revascularization: A Safe and Effective Technique for High-Risk Patients with Complex Tibial Vessel Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this