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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Lumbar sympathectomy versus prostanoids for critical limb ischaemia due to non-reconstructable peripheral arterial disease

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2018
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  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (64th percentile)

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Lumbar sympathectomy versus prostanoids for critical limb ischaemia due to non-reconstructable peripheral arterial disease
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009366.pub2
Pubmed ID

Indrani Sen, Sunil Agarwal, Prathap Tharyan, Rachel Forster


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem that can lead to reduced blood flow to the limbs, which may result in critical limb ischaemia (CLI), a painful manifestation that occurs when a person is at rest. The mainstay of treatment for CLI is surgical or endovascular repair. However, when these means of treatment are not suitable, due to anatomical reasons or comorbidities, treatment for pain is limited. Lumbar sympathectomy and prostanoids have both been shown to reduce pain from CLI in people who suffer from non-reconstructable PAD, but there is currently insufficient evidence to determine if one treatment is superior. Due to the severity of the rest pain caused by CLI, and its impact on quality of life, it is important that people are receiving the best pain relief treatment available, therefore interest in this area of research is high. To compare the efficacy of lumbar sympathectomy with prostanoid infusion in improving symptoms and function and avoiding amputation in people with critical limb ischaemia (CLI) due to non-reconstructable peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist (CIS) searched the Specialised Register (last searched 29 March 2017) and CENTRAL (2017, Issue 2). The CIS also searched clinical trials databases for ongoing or unpublished studies. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), with parallel treatment groups, that compared lumbar sympathectomy (surgical or chemical) with prostanoids (any type and dosage) in people with CLI due to non-reconstructable PAD. Three review authors independently selected trials, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion. We performed fixed-effect model meta-analyses, when there was no overt sign of heterogeneity, with risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We graded the quality of evidence according to GRADE. We included a single study in this review comparing lumbar sympathectomy with prostanoids for the treatment of CLI in people with non-reconstructable PAD. The single study included 200 participants with Buerger's disease, a form of PAD, 100 in each treatment group, but only 162 were actually included in the analyses. The study compared an open surgical technique for lumbar sympathectomy with the prostanoid, iloprost, and followed participants for 24 weeks.Risk of bias was low for most evaluated domains. Due to the nature of the treatment, blinding of the participants and those providing the treatment would be impossible as a surgical procedure was compared with intravenous injections. It was not mentioned if blinded assessors evaluated the study outcomes, therefore, we judged subjective outcomes (i.e. pain reduction) to be at unclear risk of detection bias and objective outcomes (i.e. ulcer healing, amputation and mortality) at low risk of detection bias. We also rated the risk of attrition bias as unclear; 38 out of 200 (19%) participants were not included in the analysis without clear explanation (16 of 100 in the iloprost arm and 22 of 100 in the sympathectomy arm). The quality of evidence was low due to serious imprecision because the study numbers were low and there was only one study included.The single included study reported on the outcome of complete healing without pain or major amputation, which fell under three separate outcomes for our review: relief of rest pain, complete ulcer healing and avoidance of major amputation. We chose to keep the outcome as a singularly reported outcome in order to not introduce bias into the outcomes, which may have been the case if reported separately. The limited evidence suggests participants who received prostaglandins had improved complete ulcer healing without rest pain or major amputation when compared with those who received lumbar sympathectomy (RR 1.63, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.05), but as it was the only included study, we rated the data as low-quality and could not draw any overall conclusions. The study authors stated that more participants who received prostaglandins reported adverse effects, such as headache, flushing, nausea and abdominal discomfort, but only one participant experienced severe enough adverse effects to drop out. Five participants who underwent lumbar sympathectomy reported minor wound infection (low-quality evidence). There was no reported mortality in either of the treatment groups (low-quality evidence).The included study did not report on claudication distances, quality of life or functional status, ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI), tissue oxygenation or toe pressures, or progression to minor amputation, complications or provide any cost-effectiveness data. Low-quality evidence from a single study in a select group of participants (people with Buerger's disease) suggests that prostaglandins are superior to open surgical lumbar sympathectomy for complete ulcer healing without rest pain or major amputation, but possibly incur more adverse effects. Further studies are needed to better understand if prostaglandins truly are more efficacious than open surgical lumbar sympathectomy and if there are any concerns with adverse effects. It would be of great importance for future studies to include other forms of PAD (as Buerger's disease is a select type of PAD), other methods of sympathectomy as well as data on quality of life, complications and cost-effectiveness.

Twitter Demographics

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 8 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 162 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 162 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 28 17%
Researcher 19 12%
Student > Bachelor 13 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 6%
Student > Ph. D. Student 8 5%
Other 27 17%
Unknown 58 36%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 49 30%
Nursing and Health Professions 18 11%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 2%
Social Sciences 4 2%
Immunology and Microbiology 3 2%
Other 19 12%
Unknown 65 40%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 May 2019.
All research outputs
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Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Altmetric has tracked 23,043,346 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 71st percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,357 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 31.7. This one is in the 32nd percentile – i.e., 32% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 296,868 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 64% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 203 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 23rd percentile – i.e., 23% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.