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Limb Salvage

Peachstate Advanced Cardiac & Endovascular

Board Certified Interventional Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Newnan, GA & Atlanta, GA

Critical limb ischemia is a potentially dangerous condition in which certain areas of your body aren’t getting enough blood flow or oxygen. When left untreated, critical limb ischemia can lead to serious complications, even limb loss. At Peachstate Advanced Cardiac and Endovascular (PACE), with locations throughout Georgia, Oghenerukevwe Odiete, MD, FACC, a board-certified interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist, can prevent and treat critical limb ischemia. Call or book an appointment online to learn more.

Limb Salvage Q & A

What is critical limb ischemia?

Critical limb ischemia is a condition that causes inadequate blood flow and oxygen to certain parts of the body. While it’s most common in the limbs, it can occur anywhere, including the heart, intestines, or brain.


What causes critical limb ischemia?

A blockage or narrowing of an artery causes most cases of critical limb ischemia. It’s typically the result of advanced peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a serious condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to your hands, feet, arms, legs, head, and other organs.

Over time, this buildup of plaque can narrow and harden your arteries, limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and limbs.

Without proper treatment and management, critical limb ischemia can be dangerous. In rare cases, it can lead to limb loss.

Patients with CLI have a lifespan of five years or less. Patients who lose a limb to major amputation often lose their life within 24 months.


Am I at risk for critical limb ischemia?

If you have peripheral arterial disease, you are at risk of developing critical limb ischemia, so talk to Dr. Odiete at PACE about your treatment options as soon as possible to prevent complications. Other risk factors for critical limb ischemia include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Vascular disease
  • Family history of vascular disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age (after menopause for women and over 60 for men)
  • Plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis)

As an experienced cardiologist and endovascular specialist, Dr. Odiete can perform a comprehensive physical exam, run tests and gather imaging, and review your family and medical history to determine if you’re at risk of critical limb ischemia.


What are the symptoms of critical limb ischemia?

Some of the most common warning signs and critical limb ischemia symptoms are:

  • Numbness in the legs
  • Shiny, dry skin on the legs or feet
  • Leg pain
  • Sores or infections that won’t heal on the legs or feet
  • Gangrene (tissue death)
  • Thickening toenails
  • Temperature decrease in the affected limb
  • Muscle pain
  • Pale skin on the affected limb
  • Limb pain while resting

While ischemia is most common in the limbs, especially the legs, it can affect your organs as well. In the heart, ischemia can cause chest pain. If the brain is affected, ischemia can lead to stroke.


How is critical limb ischemia treated?

Certain medications can help slow the progression of critical limb ischemia, while regular exercise and weight loss can prevent and minimize the symptoms of the disease.

An angioplasty is a vascular procedure that involves inserting small balloons into the blocked or narrowed artery through a catheter. The balloons then expand to help widen and clear the artery, so blood can flow smoothly. 

A small metal stent can then be inserted into the artery to prevent it from narrowing or becoming blocked once again.

To find out more about the critical limb ischemia treatment options available at Peachstate Advanced Cardiac and Endovascular (PACE), call or book an appointment online.