Acute Limb Ischemia

Acute limb ischemia is characterized by a rapid reduction in the blood flow in the lower limb. It may be due to peripheral artery occlusion or a bypass graft. The symptoms include toenail thickening, numbness or pain in the legs, open sores, dry gangrene, and reduced or absent pulse in the feet or legs.

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  • Embolectomy: Embolectomy is the procedure for removing the clot from the blood vessels that move from the site of origin and block the flow of blood in a different blood vessel. This disease is known as embolism. Patients with deep vein thrombosis are at increased risk for developing pulmonary embolism (a clot that travels to the lungs and causes problems). Other conditions that increase the risk of embolism are obesity, heart disease, cancer, pregnancy, and underlying clotting disorders. Embolectomy is performed through surgery (surgical embolectomy) or a catheter (catheter embolectomy).
  • Thrombectomy: Thrombectomy involves the use of mechanical interventions to remove the thrombus or blood clot. The blood clot removed through thrombectomy is present at the site of its formation. The procedure is performed with the assistance of imaging modalities. Besides removing the blood clot in acute limb ischemia, thrombectomy is also used to prevent cerebral stroke, myocardial infarction, and pulmonary embolism. Several devices are used for performing thrombectomy. These include aspiration catheters, aspiration pumps, stent retrieval tools, guidewires, and microcatheters.
  • Thrombolysis: One of the most common causes of acute limb ischemia is thrombotic occlusion. Acute limb ischemia caused due to embolic occlusion or in-situ thrombosis is usually treated with lower extremity arterial thrombolysis. The treatment aims to minimize arterial endothelium damage, achieve complete clot removal, and break clots present in small arteries that are not treated through embolectomy.
  • Amputation: Patients with critical limb ischemia are at increased risk for amputation and cardiovascular disorders. Critical limb ischemia may result in gangrene or non-healing ulcers associated with peripheral artery disease. Loss of a limb significantly reduces the quality of life of the patients. It is considered the last resort in patients with acute limb ischemia when non-invasive and other invasive therapy does not improve the conditions of the patients.