Background: The aim of this study was to determine predictors of improved quality of life and claudication in patients undergoing spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for critical lower limb ischemia. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 101 consecutive patients with few meter claudication and nonhealing ulcer who underwent definitive SCS. These patients were selected among 274 SCS patients treated at our center from 1995 to 2012. All presented with non-reconstructable critical leg ischemia (NR-CLI) and underwent supervised exercise therapy, best medical care and regular ulcers standard or advanced medications for at least 1 month before SCS implantation. We measured self-perceived quality of life using the SF-36 questionnaire. Patients with an improved walking distance of at least 30 meters after SCS had significant improvement on SF-36 questionnaire scores. We considered 30 meters as the cut-off for clinically significant improvement in pain-free walking distance, and we defined this value as functional success. Logistic regression was applied to assess baseline and other patient variables as possible predictors of functional success. Results: Neither perioperative mortality nor significant complications were found. At a median follow-up of 69 months (range 1-202 months), mortality, major amputation, and minor amputation were 8.9%, 5.9%, and 6.9%, respectively. Functional clinical success was reported in 25.7% of cases. Independent predictors of functional success at univariate analysis included delay between the onset of the ulcer and SCS (P <0.001) and the pain-free walking distance before SCS (P <0.002). The only predictive factor of functional success at multivariate analysis was the delay between the onset of ulcer and SCS (median delay in patients with and without functional success was 3 and 15 months, respectively). In particular, comparable to pain-free walking distance before SCS, the success rate decreased by 40% for each month elapsed from onset of ulcer to SCS. Conclusions: In our series of patients who underwent SCS, reduced delay between the onset of ulcer and SCS was associated with improved quality of life and walking distance. Larger series are required to confirm these data and to assess clinical implications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine