Editor's Choice - Direct vs. Indirect Angiosomal Revascularisation of Infrapopliteal Arteries, an Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Nafi Dilaver, Christopher P Twine, David C Bosanquet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


BACKGROUND: The importance of the angiosome concept in tibial artery revascularisation remains controversial. The aim of this review was to assess the outcomes of direct revascularisation (revascularisation to the angiosome of tissue loss; DR) versus indirect revascularisation (IR) in infrapopliteal arteries.

METHODS: A previously conducted systematic review was updated according to PRISMA guidelines. Studies comparing DR with IR by both endovascular and surgical means for patients with localised tissue loss were included. Meta-analyses were performed to assess the effect of DR versus IR on wound healing (total and time to healing), limb salvage, mortality, and re-intervention rates, with multiple sensitivity analyses. Outcome data quality was determined using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) tool.

RESULTS: Seven studies (2278 limbs) were identified in the updated search, which when combined with the previous search resulted in 22 studies, comprising 4146 limbs, being included. Wound healing rates (odds ratio [OR] 0.51; 95% CI 0.39-0.68, p < 0.001), time to wound healing (standard mean difference [SMD] -1.70; 95% CI -3.34 to -0.07, p = .04) and limb salvage (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.24-0.58, p < .0001) were significantly better with DR compared with IR. Sensitivity analyses were concordant with the primary analysis for these outcomes, with the exception of the effect of wound healing rates between DR and IR, which was lost on sensitivity analysis for bypass surgery. Mode of revascularisation had no effect on mortality or on re-intervention rates. GRADE outcomes were very low.

CONCLUSION: DR of the tibial vessels appears to result in improved wound healing and limb salvage rates compared with IR, with no effect on mortality or re-intervention rates. For surgical revascularisation the importance of DR appears to be lost for wound healing. When possible, these low quality data suggests DR should be undertaken in preference to IR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-848
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Crown Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Endovascular Procedures/methods
  • Humans
  • Limb Salvage/methods
  • Lower Extremity/blood supply
  • Popliteal Artery/surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tibial Arteries/surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures/methods


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