Background. Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty has been adopted widely as a treatment for patients with peripheral vascular disease of the lower extremities. However, the effect of this procedure on the overall management of peripheral vascular disease and on the outcomes of patients has not been clearly delineated. In particular, it is not known whether angioplasty has replaced other treatments for peripheral vascular disease. Methods. To assess the extent to which angioplasty is used and the associated changes in the surgical management of peripheral vascular disease of the lower extremities, we used data on hospital discharges in Maryland to identify all angioplasty procedures, peripheral bypass operations, and lower-extremity amputations performed for peripheral vascular disease in Maryland hospitals between 1979 and 1989. Results. We estimate that from 1979 to 1989 the annual rate of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for peripheral vascular disease of the lower extremities, adjusted for age and sex, rose from 1 to 24 per 100,000 Maryland residents (P<0.0001 by linear regression). Despite this increase in the use of angioplasty, the adjusted annual rate of peripheral bypass surgery also rose substantially, from 32 to 65 per 100,000 (P<0.001), whereas the adjusted annual rate of lower-extremity amputation remained stable at about 30 per 100,000. Total charges for hospitalizations during which a peripheral revascularization procedure was performed increased from $14.7 million in 1979 (in 1989 dollars) to $30.5 million in 1989. Conclusions. In Maryland, the adoption of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for peripheral vascular disease of the lower extremities has been associated with an increase in the use of peripheral bypass surgery and with no decline in lower-extremity amputations. These results could be due to increased diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease, expanded indications for procedural interventions, or an increased number of repeat procedures performed in patients with peripheral vascular disease of the lower extremities. (N Engl J Med 1991; 325:556–62.).
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