Laserprobe thermal‐assisted balloon, angioplasty (LTBA) has demonstrated promising initial clinical results in recanalizing stenotic or occluded superficial femoral and popliteal arteries. Over the past year we have obtained six specimens of laserprobe thermal (LT) and LTBA treated total occlusions (avg. length 12 cm) for histopathologic examination from patients who were treated for limb salvage. Three tissue specimens were obtained acutely, and one was obtained at 6,8, and 13 days, respectively, after laser angioplasty at the time of revision for complications or failed procedures. Serial histologic sections of the treated LT segments demonstrated recanalization of atherosclerotic lesions to approximately 60–70% of the probe diameter. The LT channels were lined by a thin layer of carbonized or coagulated tissue and several layers of cell necrosis. The histology of the thermal injury was similar regardless of whether it was produced by the heated metal cap or by free argon laser energy. Stellate balloon angioplasty fractures were frequently filled with thrombus. Analysis of these human LT and LTBA specimens revealed that the thermal device produces a confined injury through the path of least resistance. Balloon dilatation produces fragmented cracks in the vessel wall, which appear to be more thrombogenic than the carbonized LT surface. With improved guidance methods, LTBA shows potential for continuing development.
- laser thermal angioplasty