The current status of laser atherectomy for lower extremity occlusive disease

N. R. Barshes, W. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Laser atherectomy refers to the use of laser energy to ablate occlusive atheromatous arterial occlusions. First applied to vascular lesions in 1963, clinical laser atherectomy and the fundamental interaction between lasers and vascular tissue have since been extensively studied. Lasers exert an ablative effect on blood vessel walls via photothermal, photochemical and photomechanical effects. While photothermal effects predominate, photomechanical effects may be responsible for dissection of the vessel wall, a known complication of laser atherectomy. Randomized and non-randomized studies of both using laser atherectomy combined with balloon angioplasty as well as using laser atherectomy as "sole therapy" (i.e. not accompanied by balloon angioplasty) have shown high rates of technical success but equivocal long-term patency rate to that of balloon angioplasty. Nonetheless, laser atherectomy may have a role as an adjunctive treatment option for occlusive lesions that cannot be crossed with a guidewire or a balloon angioplasty catheter. Although further refinement of the laser devices is underway, laser atherectomy deserves a place in the armamentarium of the contemporary vascular surgeons and peripheral interventionists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalItalian Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherectomy
  • Endovascular surgical procedures
  • Lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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