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Quality Control of the Foot Revascularization Using Indocyanine Green Fluorescence Imaging



Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a clinical diagnosis, confirmed by objective tests, usually ankle-brachial index (ABI), toe pressure (TP) and TcPO2. Furthermore, the anatomical lesions in patients affected by CLI were visualized by ultrasound, angiography, CTA, or MRA. Indocyanine green fluorescence imaging (ICG-FI) is a diagnostic modality for assessing foot perfusion. We aimed to study the usefulness of ICG-FI in the quality control of revascularization.

Materials and methods

One hundred and four CLI limbs in 101 patients were studied with ICG-FI using SPY Elite before and after open or endovascular revascularization. ABI and TP were also measured. After ICG-FI, assessment of circulation was done using time–intensity curve derived from the two regions of interest the one being in the plantar side of the foot and the other in the dorsal side of the foot. Three parameters were derived from the curves: maximum intensity (the absolute value of the maximum intensity); intensity rate (the value from the time–intensity curve describing the increase in maximum intensity/s) and SPY10 (the intensity achieved during the first 10 s after the foot starts to gain intensity).


Sixty-two limbs presented category 3 of Rutherford classification, 12 limbs category 4, and 30 limbs category 5. Ninety-five technically successful procedures were achieved, 63 (66.3%) endovascular and 32 (33.7%) surgical revascularizations. In 9 (9.5%) patients, an in-line flow from the aorta to the foot was not achieved due to a failure to recanalize the occlusion (n = 7) or due to distal embolization (n = 2). ABI was not reliable in 58 patients (57.4%) mostly due to pseudohypertension and TPs in 49 (48.5%) patients mostly due to previous minor amputations. ICG-FI was successful in all patients. The mean intensity values before and after the procedure in patients who underwent successful revascularization were 81 ± 47 units and 120 ± 5 units of intensity (p < .001) and intensity rates 4.2 ± 4 and 8.0 ± 6.2 units/s (p = .001), respectively. In the PTA patients in whom the revascularization was unsuccessful, no changes were seen in the hemodynamic parameters. In 6 (8.8%) patients who underwent technically successful revascularization, the SPY values were worse after the revascularization than at the baseline.


ICG-FI with SPY Elite provides reliable information on the increase in perfusion after revascularization, in addition to implicating possible failure if there is no improvement in the ICG-FI variables. Unlike ABI and TP, it can be performed in all patients. It gives valuable information to complement traditional assessment methods.

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Correspondence to Nicla Settembre.

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Settembre, N., Kauhanen, P., Albäck, A. et al. Quality Control of the Foot Revascularization Using Indocyanine Green Fluorescence Imaging. World J Surg 41, 1919–1926 (2017).

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  • Intensity Curve
  • Intensity Rate
  • Critical Limb Ischemia
  • Distal Embolization
  • Surgical Revascularization