Low-dose thrombolytic therapy for infrainguinal graft occlusions: An idea whose time has passed?

Bruce A. Perler, Robert I. White, Calvin B. Ernst, G. Melville Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the growing enthusiasm for low-dose intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy, the efficacy and risks in specific clinical situations have not been defined. During the past 13 months, 10 infrainguinal bypass graft occlusions occurred in nine patients 2 to 48 months postoperatively and were treated with local infusions of either streptokinase or urokinase. The grafts treated included two saphenous vein femoropopliteal grafts, two expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) femoropopliteal grafts, four saphenous vein femoro-anterior tibial grafts, one saphenous vein-PTFE composite femoro-anterior tibial graft, and one saphenous vein-PTFE composite femoroperoneal graft. The graft occlusions occurred 2 to 14 days prior to initiation of treatment. The infusion failed to restore flow completely in seven grafts; and of the three successes, two patients required surgical treatment of complications. All successful recanalizations occurred within 48 hours of the initiation of thrombolytic therapy. Of the seven failures, two patients had viable limbs and were discharged, whereas two required amputation (one above and one below knee). Three patients underwent surgical thrombectomy and revisions that were successful in two and resulted in a below-knee amputation in the other. Despite all precautions, complications occurred in five patients. Low-dose intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy is a poorly efficacious, risky method of infrainguinal graft occlusion management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-805
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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