Contributor: Peter Bakes, MD
- Classically presents with the 6Ps: Pain, pallor, paresthesia, pulseless, poikilothermia (cold), and paralysis
- Acute limb ischemia occurs by embolic or thrombotic causes
- Thrombotic causes are now more common due to aging populations and advancements in vascular surgery like stents which can be a nidus for thrombosis.
- Sudden onset of pain without prior symptoms is more typical of embolic causes
- Preceding symptoms leading to acute ischemia are more often from thrombosis
- Diagnosis can be clinical based on absent pulses, ultrasound or CT angiogram
- Definitive treatment includes thrombectomy, stenting, or bypass surgery to restore the blood flow to the distal limb
McNally MM, Univers J. Acute Limb Ischemia. Surg Clin North Am. 2018 Oct;98(5):1081-1096. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2018.05.002. PMID: 30243449.
Summarized by Jackson Roos, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD