Annals of Vascular Surgery

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 56–62

Aortoiliac Endarterectomy: A Lost Art?


    • Department of SurgeryUniversity of California
    • University of California Irvine Medical Center
  • Thaine Price
    • Department of SurgeryAnaheim Memorial Medical Center

DOI: 10.1007/s10016-005-9101-9

Cite this article as:
Connolly, J.E. & Price, T. Ann Vasc Surg (2006) 20: 56. doi:10.1007/s10016-005-9101-9


Endarterectomy was first performed on a superficial femoral artery in 1946 by Cid dos Santos and subsequently on the abdominal aorta by Wylie in 1951. During the 1950s and 1960s, aortoiliac endarterectomy (AIE) was the standard procedure for treatment of aortoiliac occlusive disease. When prosthetic graft material became available, aortobifemoral bypass (ABFB) replaced AIE in most cases because occlusive disease commonly affects the external iliac arteries also, which were difficult to endarterectomize. As a result, aorto-common iliac endarterectomy became almost a lost art. However, we believe there is still a place for AIE in selected patients based on a review of our results with the procedure. We reviewed 205 patients who survived 10 years after undergoing operation for aortoiliac occlusive disease by either aorto-common iliac endarterectomy (n = 39) or ABFB (n = 166). Ten-year primary patency was 89.2% for AIE and 78% for ABFB. Graft infection or aneurysmal formation occurred in 5% of ABFB and 0% of AIE cases. Ten male patients who underwent AIE for leg and hip claudication with positive penile/brachial indices of ≤0.6 enjoyed improvement of erectile dysfunction. Twenty of the 39 AIEs were in female smokers with small vessels, localized disease, and elevated triglycerides. Three patients with end-to-side infected ABFB grafts, two with enteric fistula (one ours, two referred), had their grafts removed, followed by AIE with vein patching of their bypass sites. All three patients survived and at 10-year follow-up had patent reconstructed aortofemoral vessels. Since AIE avoids prosthetic material, it is preferable to ABFB in (1) patients whose aortoiliac occlusive disease does not involve the external iliac arteries; (2) male patients with aortoiliac occlusive disease who, in addition to claudication, have erectile dysfunction with penile/brachial indices of ≤0.6 and stenotic internal iliac origins; (3) patients with aortoiliac disease including the external iliac arteries who are not candidates for ABFB because of infection risk or small vessels; (4) patients with localized aortoiliac disease; and (5) patients after removal of an infected ABFB graft (with or without an enteric fistula) that had initially been placed end-to-side for aortoiliac occlusive disease.

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© Annals of Vascular Surgery Inc. 2006