A prospective study of the effect of limb-threatening ischaemia and its surgical treatment on the quality of life

Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, U.K.
European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.49). 03/1997; 13(3):306-14. DOI: 10.1016/S1078-5884(97)80103-7
Source: PubMed


To assess the quality of life after treatment for limb-threatening ischaemia.
An open, prospective, observational study in a Vascular Unit of a University Hospital.
One hundred and fifty consecutive patients presenting with actual or threatened tissue loss of the leg.
A single, experienced observer assessed the patients for pain, mobility, anxiety, depression, self-care and lifestyle at presentation, 6 and 12 months later.
Six different treatment outcomes were recognised: successful angioplasty, successful thrombolysis/thrombectomy, successful surgical bypass, amputation after failed revascularisation, primary unilateral amputation and primary bilateral amputation. Pain was significantly improved in all groups (p < 0.05) except for patients after failed revascularization (p = 0.08). Mobility improved in patients who underwent angioplasty (p = 0.05) or a successful surgical bypass (p = 0.001). Anxiety and depression both improved significantly only after surgical reconstruction (p < 0.02). Self-care ability improved significantly after angioplasty (p < 0.05), surgical reconstruction (p < 0.005) and unilateral primary amputation (p < 0.05), but was unaltered in the other groups. Lifestyle significantly deteriorated following thrombolysis/thrombectomy and failed surgical reconstruction (p < 0.05), but was maintained in all other groups.
The treatment of limb-threatening ischaemia should aim to maintain pre-morbid lifestyle, an aim which is best achieved by limb-salvage. The patient's own expectations and needs have a major bearing on the choice of therapy.

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