Quality of life and mortality after endovascular, surgical or conservative treatment of elderly patients suffering from critical limb ischemia

S.L. Steunenberg*, J. de Vries, J.W. Raats, W.J. Thijsse, N. Verbogt, P. Lodder, G.V. Eijck, E.J. Veen, H.G.W. de Groot, G.H. Ho, L. van der Laan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)



Revascularization to relieve ischemic pain and prevent limb loss is the cornerstone of critical limb ischemia (CLI) treatment; however, not all elderly patients are deemed fit for revascularization. Patient-related outcome measurements are important in these patients. Quality of life (QoL) results regarding the effect of endovascular, surgical, and conservative treatment on the QoL in the elderly are scarce in the current literature. The goal of this study was to explore the outcomes of the different treatment modalities in elderly patients suffering from CLI, with a specific focus on QoL.


A total of 195 CLI patients >= 70 years were prospectively included between January 2012 and February 2016 and divided into 6 groups (endovascular revascularization, surgical revascularization, and conservative treatment). Two age groups (70-79 and >80 years) were analyzed. Follow-up was performed at 5-7 days, 6 weeks, and 6 months. World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF questionnaire was used to determine QoL. The Vasculare Physiological and Operative Severity Score for Enumeration of Mortality and Morbidity score was noted. QoL was used as the primary end point, with mortality and limb salvage as the secondary end points.


Six-month mortality was significantly lower in surgically treated patients aged 70-79 years (4%) as compared with endovascular (24%, P = 0.001) or conservative treatment (25%, P = 0.02). There was no significant difference in 6-month mortality in patients >80 years among endovascularly (38%), surgically (15%), and conservatively treated patients (27%). QoL significantly increased at all follow-up moments in surgically treated patients between 70 and 79 years and at 6 months in endovascularly treated patients. Conservatively treated patients did not improve their QoL in this age group. All patients aged >80 years, including conservatively treated patients, showed significantly improved QoL results at 6 months.


Elderly patients judged fit for surgery may benefit the most from surgical revascularization, reporting low mortality rates, low adverse events and significantly gained QoL in multiple domains. However, all 3 treatment modalities have significantly increased physical health at 6 months. Conservative therapy seems to be an acceptable treatment option in patients unfit for revascularization with gained physical health at 6 months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-105
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 2018




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