Early results and lessons learned from a multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial of bone marrow aspirate concentrate in critical limb ischemia

Mark D. Iafrati, John W. Hallett, George Geils, Gregory Pearl, Alan Lumsden, Eric Peden, Dennis Bandyk, K. S. Vijayaraghava, R. Radhakrishnan, Enrico Ascher, Anil Hingorani, Sean Roddy

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67 Scopus citations


Objectives: Despite advances in endovascular therapies, critical limb ischemia (CLI) continues to be associated with high morbidity and mortality. Patients without direct revascularization options have the worst outcomes. We sought to explore the feasibility of conducting a definitive trial of a bone marrow-derived cellular therapy for CLI in this "no option" population. Methods: A pilot, multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for "no option" CLI patients was performed. The therapy consisted of bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC), prepared using a point of service centrifugation technique and injected percutaneously in 40 injections to the affected limb. Patients were randomized to BMAC or sham injections (dilute blood). We are reporting the 12-week data. Results: Forty-eight patients were enrolled. The mean age was 69.5 years (range, 42-93 years). Males predominated (68%). Diabetes was present in 50%. Tissue loss (Rutherford 5) was present in 30 patients (62.5%), and 18 (37.5%) had rest pain without tissue loss (Rutherford 4). Patients were deemed unsuitable for conventional revascularization based on multiple prior failed revascularization efforts (24 [50%]), poor distal targets (43 [89.6%]), and medical risk (six [12.5%]). Thirty-four patients were treated with BMAC and 14 with sham injections. There were no adverse events attributed to the injections. Renal function was not affected. Effective blinding was confirmed; blinding index of 61% to 85%. Subjective and objective outcome measures were effectively obtained with the exception of treadmill walking times, which could only be obtained at baseline and follow-up in 15 of 48 subjects. This pilot study was not powered to demonstrate statistical significance but did demonstrate favorable trends for BMAC versus control in major amputations (17.6% vs 28.6%), improved pain (44% vs 25%), improved ankle brachial index (ABI; 32.4% vs 7.1%), improved Rutherford classification (35.3% vs 14.3%), and quality-of-life scoring better for BMAC in six of eight domains. Conclusions: In this multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of autologous bone marrow cell therapy for CLI, the therapy was well tolerated without significant adverse events. The BMAC group demonstrated trends toward improvement in amputation, pain, quality of life, Rutherford classification, and ABI when compared with controls. This pilot allowed us to identify several areas for improvement for future trials and CLI studies. These recommendations include elimination of treadmill testing, stratification by Rutherford class, and more liberal inclusion of patients with renal insufficiency. Our strongest recommendation is that CLI studies that include Rutherford 4 patients should incorporate a composite endpoint reflecting pain and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1650-1658
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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