Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a serious condition in which there is inadequate blood flow and oxygen to a specific part of the body. It can occur anywhere blood flows including the limbs, heart, brain, or intestines. It is generally caused by a narrowing or blockage of an artery. Ischemia is serious form of peripheral artery disease that can cause tissue damage gangrene, ulcers & limb loss. CLI requires appropriate medical attention and will not improve on its own.
What are the symptoms of critical limb ischemia (CLI)?
The most common symptoms of CLI is called ischemia rest pain (severe pains in the lower limbs while a person is not moving0 and/or non-healing sores in the legs or feet.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain or numbness in the feet
- Shiny, smooth, dry skin of the legs or feet
- Thickening of the toenails
- Absent or diminished pulse in the legs or feet
- Open sores, skin infections or ulcers that will not heal
- Dry gangrene (dry, black skin) of the legs or feet
Primary risk factors of CLI:
Risk factors are similar to atherosclerosis which includes smoking, aging, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, diabetes and a family history of vascular disorders: atherosclerosis and/or claudication.