Background: We aimed to conduct a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing treatment modalities for infrapopliteal lesions in critical limb ischemia.
Methods: Five treatments for infrapopliteal lesions in critical limb ischemia were recognized. We compared primary patency, target lesion revascularization (TLR), major amputation at the 12-month follow-up, and technical success rate of the treatment modalities.
Results: Altogether, 11 studies (22 study arms; 1,330 patients) were considered eligible. The drug-eluting balloon (DEB) significantly increased primary patency compared with balloon angioplasty (BA; odds ratio [OR] 9.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.18-25.55), the bare metal stent (BMS; OR 14.39, 95% CI 4.33-47.87), and the drug-eluting stent (DES; OR 3.70, 95% CI 1.20-11.11). The DES significantly increased primary patency compared with BA (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.57-3.74) and BMS (OR 3.86, 95% CI 2.24-6.65). DES significantly increased the technical success rate compared with BA (OR 11.78, 95% CI 1.42-97.59). According to the value of the surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA), DEB was considered the best treatment in terms of primary patency (SUCRA = 99.7) and TLR (SUCRA = 70.7), and DES was considered the best treatment in terms of technical success rate (SUCRA = 90.6) and major amputation (SUCRA = 85.9).
Conclusions: DEB has shown encouraging results in terms of primary patency for infrapopliteal lesions in critical limb ischemia; furthermore, DEB may be better than other treatments in terms of TLR. DES may be better than other treatments in terms of technical success and major amputation. In contrast, BA and BMS seem to be less effective treatment options.
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