Excimer laser-assisted femoral angioplasty: Early results

Walter J. McCarthy*, Robert L. Vogelzang, Albert A. Nemcek, Allen Joseph, William H. Pearce, William R. Flinn, James S.T. Yao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The ability to ablate atheroma without generating heat makes the excimer laser wavelength a promising intraluminal technique for the treatment of arterial occlusive disease. This series reviews a preliminary experience treating patients with superficial femoral arterial disease admitted with limb-threatening ischemia or claudication. Twenty-six diseased superficial femoral arteries (5 stenotic and 21 occluded) were treated in 23 consecutive patients. Patients with claudication (18) reluctant to undergo bypass or with limb-threatening ischemia (8) at extremely high risk for surgery were included. There were 10 men and 13 women with a mean age of 67 years. A 308 nm excimer laser with an over-the-wire catheter (19) or balloon-centered end-on catheter (7) was used followed by balloon angioplasty. Twenty-four procedures were performed percutaneously, and two were performed with the vessel open in the operating room. Technical success, defined as disobliteration confirmed by angiography and greater than 0.15 increase of the ankle/brachial index, was achieved in 15 of 26. Eleven of 21 occlusions (52%) and four of five stenoses (80%) were opened. Only two of 11 lesions longer than 10 cm were successfully treated. Unsuccessful attempts (technical failure) occurred in 11 of 26 patients and resulted in four elective and one emergency femoral-popliteal bypass. Five patients were discharged with their claudication unchanged, and one had an elective amputation. Six arterial perforations with three arteriovenous fistulas occurred, all resolved without operation. No unanticipated limb loss occurred. In the 15 successful cases, the mean ankle/brachial index increase was 0.34. Seven (47%) of these 15 remain patent with a mean follow-up of 9.5 months (1.5 to 14 months). Initial technical success and early patency of excimer laser angioplasty is poor compared to arterial bypass surgery. The technique has limited use for long stenoses or occlusions. However, it may be effective in carefully selected short lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-614
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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