Current Options in the Diagnosis and Management of Acute Limb Ischemia

Karthikeshwar Kasirajan, MD, Kenneth Ouriel, MD


Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2002;17(1) 

In This Article


Acute limb ischemia occurs due to a sudden decrease in the blood flow to a limb, resulting in a potential threat to the viability of the extremity. Unfortunately, the threat is not only to the limb, but these patients are also at high risk for death. Limb hypoperfusion results in systemic acid-base and electrolyte abnormalities that impair cardiopulmonary and renal function. Successful reperfusion may result in the release of highly toxic free radicals, further compromising these critically ill patients. Therapeutic choices are often few and patient expectations are not always realistic. The management of acute limb ischemia requires a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the arterial occlusion and the open surgical and percutaneous options for restoring limb perfusion. Priorities for the diagnosis and effective management of these critically ill patients are provided.


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