Clinical outcome and its predictors in 1560 patients with critical leg ischaemia

V. Bertelè, M. C. Roncaglioni, J. Pangrazzi, E. Terzian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: to assess the predictivity of clinical variables in patients with chronic critical leg ischaemia (CLI). Design: observational prospective cohort study. Methods: the i.c.a.i. (ischemia critica degli arti inferiori) trial database was used to assess the impact of patients' history, cardiovascular risk, manifestations of the disease and specific invasive and pharmacological interventions on mortality, amputation rate and persistence of CLI. Results: of 1560 patients, 298 died within one year; at six months 187 were amputees and 746 still suffered from CLI. Prior major vascular events doubled the risk of dying within one year. Previous revascularisation was associated with a lower mortality, but also with a higher probability of amputation. Among cardiovascular risk factors, only diabetes affected prognosis, in terms of increased mortality and lower probability of recovery from CLI. Patients with tissue loss had a higher amputation rate and less probability of recovery. Ankle pressure was predictive of mortality and amputation only when immeasurable. Patients requiring revascularisation had better chances of recovering from CLI, but not of longer-term survival or limb salvage compared to those in whom surgery was deemed unnecessary. Antiplatelet drugs caused resolution of CLI and decreased the amputation rate by about 1/3, while the advantage of the test treatment (alprostadil-α-cyclodextrine) was confined to CLI resolution only. Conclusions: this study documents the high mortality and heterogeneity of patients with CLI. It provides stratification criteria for reliably estimating the achievable benefit in routine practice and for clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999


  • Cohort study
  • Critical leg ischaemia
  • Prognostic variables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Surgery


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