Surgical management of severe acute lower extremity ischemia

Richard A. Yeager, Gregory L. Moneta, Lloyd M. Taylor, Daniel W. Hamre, Donald B. McConnell, John M. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Seventy-four patients (70 men [95%], 4 women [5%], mean age, 63 years) with severe, acute lower limb ischemia (acute clinical deterioration and absent pedal Doppler signals) caused by either arterial thrombosis (n = 68) or embolism (n = 6) underwent urgent surgical management consisting of operative revascularization with or without amputation in 67 patients (91%) and primary amputation alone in 7 patients (9%). Sixty-one patients (82%) had severely threatened limb viability, and 13 (18%) had major irreversible ischemic limb changes at presentation. Eighty-six percent of patients were initially anticoagulated with heparin. Seventy percent underwent preoperative angiography. Surgical revascularization included 42 inflow and 20 outflow arterial reconstructions and 9 thrombectomy or embolectomy procedures. Mean follow-up was 17 months (range, 0 to 64). Life-table primary patency at 36 months for arterial reconstructions was 81% for inflow and 78% for outflow procedures. Cumulative limb salvage was 70% at 1 month and 68% at 36 months. Patient survival was 85% at 1 month and 51% at 36 months. No death was directly attributable to complications related to limb reperfusion, and no patient required dialysis for myoglobinuria. We conclude that management of severe, acute lower limb ischemia with early amputation of nonviable limbs and heparinization, angiography, and prompt operative revascularization for threatened but viable extremities minimizes morbidity and mortality rates, while maximizing limb salvage. These results may be useful for comparison with comparable groups of patients treated with thrombolytic or endovascular modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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