"Hot tip" laser angioplasty has been used in the treatment of peripheral artery disease. The purpose of our study (the largest in Italy) is to evaluate the complications during the recanalization of stenotic and occluded iliac and femoro-popliteal arteries, using a hot tip laser system coupled to an Argon or Nd Yag laser. One hundred twenty-three patients have been treated. The complications were: arterial spasm in 2 patients; distal embolizations in 6 patients; arterial dissections in 35 patients; vessel wall perforations in 20 patients. Vessel wall perforation is the more severe complication and did never allow to complete the procedure. The presence of intravascular calcified deposits increases the risk of perforation, due to the loss of the coaxial position of the probe. Only the development of a guided laser system could allow a safer delivery of laser radiation, reducing the risk of arterial wall perforation.
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