Conference Coverage

Femoral artery endarterectomy still ‘gold standard’



– Additional higher quality supporting evidence is needed before endovascular therapies can legitimately be placed on equal footing as an alternative to open surgery in patients with symptomatic common femoral artery stenosis, Jeffrey J. Siracuse, MD, FACS, asserted at a symposium on vascular surgery sponsored by Northwestern University.

“Open surgery in the CFA [common femoral artery] is probably still the gold standard in most cases,” said Dr. Siracuse, a vascular surgeon at Boston University.

Bruce Jancin/MDedge News

Dr. Jeffrey J. Siracuse

He was quick to note that others would disagree. Stenting and other endovascular interventions in the CFA are booming in popularity, particularly among cardiologists, interventional radiologists, and the patients to whom the clinicians present the option in a favorable light. But this enthusiasm is based almost entirely on small, single-center, retrospective studies conducted in patients with heterogeneous profiles. The one prospective randomized multicenter trial of stenting versus surgery for CFA stenosis published to date – the French TECCO study – has a number of key limitations, flaws, and unanswered questions, which endovascular proponents have overlooked in their enthusiasm to promote an “endo-first” approach in the CFA, according to Dr. Siracuse.

“Everyone’s pretty much jumping on the bandwagon now. I think endovascular therapy of the CFA is here to stay. You’re going to see more people doing it, and potentially doing it incorrectly,” he predicted.

“The biggest thing I worry about with stenting is covering or jailing out the deep femoral artery. On multiple occasions – including a case just 2 weeks ago – I’ve taken out stents placed in the CFA by others that developed in-stent hyperplasia to the extent that the entire stent goes down, the DFA is covered, and now all of a sudden you’ve lost all flow to the leg. That’s my biggest concern with stenting,” he said.

Dr. Siracuse has other reservations as well. The CFA has traditionally been considered a “no-stent zone” because of the unique biomechanical stresses the artery is subjected to as a result of torsion, flexion, and extension at the hip joint. These forces render the area particularly vulnerable to neointimal hyperplasia, acute thrombosis, and stent fracture.

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