Interventional Radiology - Original Article

Ultrasound-guided retrograde tibial access through chronically occluded tibial arteries: a last resort recanalization technique


  • Murat Serhat Aygun
  • Derya Tureli
  • Sinan Deniz
  • Levent Oguzkurt

Received Date: 01.11.2021 Accepted Date: 07.08.2022 Diagn Interv Radiol 2022;28(6):621-626


We aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of ultrasound (US)-guided retrograde tibial access through chronically occluded tibial arteries as a bailout endovascular recanalization procedure in patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI).


Fifty-one CLI patients with failed conventional antegrade tibiopedal recanalization required retrograde tibiopedal access in the same session. In all of these patients, the target tibial artery was chronically occluded in at least the distal half of the cruris. Access attempts were made under real-time US by a single operator experienced in image-guided vascular access procedures. Fluoroscopy was used only as an adjunct during advancement of a 0.018 inch guidewire. If access to the artery was successful by the retrograde route, the occluded artery was usually predilated with a 2 mm balloon, and the standard endovascular treatment was mostly performed through the antegrade route.


Patients had athereosclerosis (n=35) or Buerger’s disease (n=32) and presented with Rutherford category IV and category V. Successful placement of a guidewire in the occluded artery lumen was achieved in 81% of all patients, whereas, treatment success, i.e. angiographic demonstration of in-line flow at the end of procedure, was achieved in 49%. No significant procedure-related complications were observed. Of 33 limbs with initially successful endovascular treatment, 6 required minor and 1 required major amputation during follow-up.


US-guided retrograde access through completely occluded tibial arteries is difficult but feasible. Half of the tibial arteries that could not be recanalized otherwise were converted to successful recanalization by this method.