Critical Limb Ischemia
CRITICAL LIMB ISCHEMIA Q & A
What Is Critical Limb Ischemia?
Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is the most severe form of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), causing intense pain in the legs and feet. It is one of the leading causes of amputation.
What Are CLI Symptoms?
- Non-healing wounds on the feet or legs
- Leg pain when walking
- Some pain relief when dangling the legs, or standing
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Foot pain or numbness
- Excessively shiny, smooth, or dry skin on the legs and feet
- Thickening of the toenails
- Diminished, or no pulse in the legs or feet
- Dry, black skin on the legs and feet (dry gangrene)
- Foot infections
- Leg swelling and discoloration
What Are Risk Factors for CLI?
- Chronic kidney disease
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Family history of atherosclerosis or claudication
How Is CLI Treated?
CLI is a serious condition. Blood flow needs to be restored to the affected legs and feet to help wounds heal, thus avoiding further infection, gangrene, and the need to amputate. Timing is critical, so it is important that the patient begins amputation prevention, also referred to as limb salvage, before the situation is irreversible.