The Contemporary Role of Stents and Angioplasty for the Treatment of Infrapopliteal Disease in Critical Limb Ischemia

  • Tarek A. Hammad
  • Anand Prasad
Interventional Cardiology (SR Bailey, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Interventional Cardiology


Purpose of Review

Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is associated with significant morbidity, mortality, and increased health care expenses. Revascularization has a central role in the treatment of CLI. Following publication of BASIL (bypass versus angioplasty in severe ischemia of the leg) trial a decade ago, an “endovascular first” approach had gained momentum and the technologies available for endovascular therapy have exponentially increased. Both the development of technology and technique, highlighted in this review, have allowed operators to treat complex infrapopliteal lesions which are central to CLI pathology.

Recent Findings

The role of atherectomy remains controversial but for calcified lesions it has become an accepted adjunctive tool for plaque modification. The place of drug delivery technologies requires further trials. The use of a drug-coated balloon (DCB) makes intuitive sense; however, choice of excipient, lower limit of vessel size, and impact on remodeling and thrombosis remain uncertain.


The optimal treatment of infrapopliteal disease remains an area of active investigation. The endpoints in CLI trials continue to be challenging and calibration of patency in relation to wound healing remains a moving target. In addition, unaccounted variables continue to confound interpretation of CLI trials—including quality and nature of wound care, status of pedal-plantar loop patency, and management of underlying diabetes and other comorbidities. In summary, these challenges will also need to be addressed as the CLI field continues to mature in the twenty-first century.


Peripheral artery disease Claudication Critical limb ischemia Infrapopliteal Endovascular Balloon Stent Atherectomy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Tarek A. Hammad and Anand Prasad declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of CardiologyThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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