Limb salvage in octogenarians and nonagenarians

Larry A. Scher, Frank J. Veith, Enrico Ascer, Ronald A. White, Russell H. Samson, Seymour Sprayregen, Sushil K. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Although advanced age has often been a relative contraindication to attempts at limb salvage, we have not regarded it as an important deterrent to arterial reconstruction. Our 6-year experience with 168 consecutive patients over 80 years of age who underwent arterial reconstruction or percutaneous transluminal angioplasty represented 18% of all patients treated with limb-threatening ischemia during this period. The average age was 84 years, with 14 patients over 90 years of age. Sixty-eight patients were men (41%) and 100 were women (59%). Indications for treatment in 189 limbs were restricted to limb salvage. One hundred eighty-two operative procedures were performed consisting of 84 femoropopliteal, 72 femorotibial, 12 axillofemoral, 11 femorofemoral, two axillopopliteal and one iliofemoral bypass. Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty was performed in 12 iliac and 14 femoral or popliteal arteries as an alternative (seven) or adjunct (19) to vascular reconstruction. The 30-day procedural mortality rate was 6%. The cumulative life table survival rate of all patients who underwent an attempt at limb salvage was 78% at 1 year, 65% at 2 years, and 54% at 3 years. Cumulative life table limb salvage rates were 84% at 1 year, 74% at 2 years, and 71% at 3 years. Overall graft patency for 182 arterial reconstructive operations was 80% at 1 year and 62% at 3 years. Of patients in whom limb salvage was attempted, 65% lived more than 1 year and 51% more than 2 years with a functional limb. Of patients who died within 5 years of treatment, 76% did so with their previously threatened limb intact. These data support an aggressive approach to arterial reconstruction in elderly patients and indicate that advanced age alone should not be considered a contraindication to attempts at limb salvage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-165
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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