To compare practice in lower limb bypass surgery in nine countries.
A prospective study amalgamating and analysing data from national and regional vascular registries.
A table of data fields and definitions was agreed by all member countries of the Vascunet Collaboration. Data from January 2005 to December 2009 was submitted to a central database.
32,084 cases of infrainguinal bypass (IIB) in nine countries were analysed. Procedures per 100,000 population varied between 2.3 in the UK and 24.6 in Finland. The proportion of women varied from 25% to 43.5%. The median age for all countries was 70 for men and 76 for women. Hungary treated the youngest patients. IIB was performed for claudication for between 15.7% and 40.8% of all procedures. Vein grafts were used in patients operated on for claudication (52.9%), for rest pain (66.7%) and tissue loss (74.1%). Italy had the highest use of synthetic grafts. Among claudicants 45% of bypasses were performed to the below knee popliteal artery or more distally. Graft patency at 30 days varied between 86% and 99%.
Significant variations in practice between countries were demonstrated. These results should be interpreted alongside the known limitations of such registry data with respect to quality and completeness of the data. Variation in data completeness and data validation between countries needs to be improved for useful international comparison of outcomes.