Intermittent Claudication and Critical Limb Ischemia: From Diagnosis to Management. 

Morère, et. al.  Rev Med Suisse. 2017 Mar 1;13(552):514-518.



Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a clinical syndrome of ischemic pain at rest or tissue loss, such as non-healing ulcers or gangrene, related to peripheral artery disease. CLI has a high short-term risk of limb loss and cardiovascular events. Non-invasive or invasive angiography help determine the feasibility and approach to arterial revascularization. An “endovascular-first” approach is often advocated based on a lower procedural risk, however, specific patterns of disease may be best treated by open surgical revascularization. Balloon angioplasty and stenting form the backbone of endovascular techniques, with drug-eluting stents and drug-coated balloons offering low rates of repeat revascularization. Combined antegrade and retrograde approaches can increase success in long total occlusions. Below the knee, angiosome-directed angioplasty may lead to greater wound healing, but failing this, any straight line flow into the foot is pursued. Hybrid surgical techniques such as iliac stenting and common femoral endarterectomy are commonly used to reduce operative risk. Lower extremity bypass grafting is most successful with a good quality, long, single-segment autogenous vein of at least 3.5mm diameter. Minor amputations are often required for tissue loss as part of the treatment strategy. Major amputations (at or above the ankle) limit functional independence and their prevention is a key goal of CLI therapy. Medical therapy after revascularization targets risk factors for atherosclerosis and assesses wound healing and new or recurrent flow limiting disease. The ongoing NIH sponsored BEST-CLI study is a randomized trial of the contemporary endovascular versus open surgical techniques in patients with CLI.


Keywords:peripheral artery disease, endovascular, vascular intervention, vascular disease extremities, vascular surgery, critical limb ischemia, drug coated balloons, drug-eluting stent