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Semin Vasc Surg. 2003 Dec;16(4):270-9.

Endovascular techniques in the treatment of acute limb ischemia: thrombolytic agents, trials, and percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy techniques.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH 44195, USA.


Acute peripheral arterial occlusion is associated with great risk to the patient's limb and life. Failure to restore adequate arterial flow in a timely fashion can result in the development of irreversible tissue infarction and the opportunity for limb salvage is lost. On the other hand, patients with acute limb ischemia are often elderly and frail, and early invasive open surgical procedures without adequate preoperative stabilization and preparation result in an unacceptably high risk of perioperative cardiopulmonary complications and death. Percutaneous methods designed to remove the intraluminal thrombus offer an alternative to immediate open surgical revascularization. These less invasive techniques constitute an option that is better tolerated in medically compromised patients. The causative lesion can be precisely identified and the patency of outflow vessels can be restored. The lesion can then be addressed on an elective basis in a well-prepared patient, using percutaneous or open surgical techniques to effect a durable long-term solution. The treatment options include primary surgical revascularization, thrombolytic therapy, percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy, or a combination of any of the three. Clinicians who themselves have the skills to perform a wide assortment of interventions ranging from percutaneous therapies through open surgical revascularization are best able to arrive at the most rational option for treating a specific clinical scenario. This article is directed at providing the practicing surgeon with a basic fund of knowledge on the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies useful in treating patients with peripheral arterial occlusion. Only in this manner can we expect to reduce the high rate of morbidity and mortality that remains associated with these events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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