Below-the-Knee Retrograde Access for Peripheral Interventions: A Systematic Review

Rutger H.A. Welling*, Olaf J. Bakker, Dierk Scheinert, Frans L. Moll, Constantijn E. Hazenberg, Jihad A. Mustapha, Gert J. de Borst, Andrej Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To investigate the hypothesis that interventions involving retrograde below-the-knee (BTK) vessel punctures have an acceptably low complication rate and high procedural success. Methods: A systematic review was performed of the MEDLINE and Scopus databases for articles describing the results of BTK retrograde access for peripheral interventions. Outcome measures were access success, procedure success, and complications. A predefined subgroup analysis was performed of prospective studies to reduce the influence of possible reporting bias on outcomes. Results: Nineteen articles, including 3 prospective studies, were selected, including a total of 1905 interventions in 1395 patients (mean age 69.5 years; 918 men). The BTK vessels were punctured in 1168 (61.3%) of these interventions. Access was successful in 94.0% of BTK attempts, 86.0% of all lesions were successfully crossed using a retrograde access, and 84.0% of interventions achieved technical success. Forty-eight (4.1%) distal access site complications were reported. Vessel perforations were seen in 13 (1.1%) interventions, vasospasm in 5 (0.4%), and acute distal occlusions in 5 (0.4%). Predefined subgroup analysis of prospective studies showed similar results (p=0.24). Conclusion: A retrograde approach to facilitate peripheral endovascular interventions is a safe and successful technique and should be considered when an antegrade approach is not possible or fails to cross the lesion. Because of missing data on long-term outcomes and methodological shortcomings, real world data of retrograde access in nonexpert centers remains necessary before this technique can be advised to all interventionists dealing with peripheral artery disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Endovascular Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Aged
  • Endovascular Procedures/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg/blood supply
  • Male
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease/physiopathology
  • Punctures
  • Risk Factors
  • Tibial Arteries/physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency


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