Limb loss is one of the serious complications of PAD or peripheral artery disease.

Over 8 million Americans have PAD. It’s a condition associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, limitation in function, and its severe form, critical limb ischemia (CLI)

PAD and Critical Limb Ischemia

CLI is the advanced stage of PAD. 

PAD develops when the arteries are clogged with plaque. Plaque forms when cholesterol lodges into the arterial wall. 

In its most severe form, PAD can lead to CLI. It’s the severe obstruction of the arteries, causing a significant reduction in blood flow to the extremities. This can lead to severe pain and even the development of skin ulcers and sores.

The pain from CLI can be so intense that individuals with it wake up at night. This pain is also called “rest pain” as it can be temporarily relieved by walking around or hanging the leg over the bed.

Symptoms of CLI

You may have CLI if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or severe pain on the lower extremities (legs and feet) when at rest
  • Toe or foot infection or ulcers that don’t heal 
  • Shiny and smooth but dry skin on the legs and feet
  • Weak pulse on the legs or feet
  • A noticeable change in temperature difference on the lower extremities compared to the rest of the body (legs and feet feel cold) 
  • Gangrene
  • Thickening of the toenails

At-risk groups

The following are at high risk of developing CLI:

  • Men over the age of 60
  • Women after menopause
  • Smokers
  • Obese 
  • Those who have diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure 
  • Those who have a family history of vascular disease

Treating CLI at Premier Surgical Associates

Due to its severity, CLI needs immediate treatment in order to normalize the blood flow in the affected area. When left untreated, it can lead to amputation of the affected limb.

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition. In many cases, surgery is the only way to effectively prevent further blockage in the arteries and stop the pain and other associated symptoms.

The Premier Vascular and Vein Center has the largest team of board-certified vascular surgeons in the Knoxville area. They are experts in diagnosing and treating PAD and CLI. They perform procedures to remove the blockage of the arteries and re-establish blood flow to the area. They use advanced techniques to prevent limb loss.

If you have PAD or if you suspect that you have PAD, it’s important to see a vascular specialist. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preventing limb loss from PAD complications.

To request an appointment with one of our vascular surgeons, you may call the Premier Vascular and Vein Center at (865) 588-8229.