Understanding The Treatment Options For Acute Limb Ischemia: What You Should Know

When you take a loved one to the doctor because they have pain, swelling, coldness, or even partial paralysis in their arm or leg, you may not expect to be told that your loved one is suffering from acute limb ischemia. In fact, until the diagnosis comes in, you likely have not heard of acute limb ischemia before. Once you know why your loved one is suffering from the symptoms they have, the next step will be able to figure out a course of treatment to help them overcome those symptoms as soon as possible. Get to know some of the treatment options available for acute limb ischemia and help your loved one to overcome their medical crisis as soon as possible.

Pharmacological or Mechanical Thrombolysis

One of the treatment options for acute limb ischemia is known as thrombolysis. Thrombolysis or thrombolytic therapy is a form of treatment that busts or breaks up a blood clot that is causing a blockage.

This treatment can be done by pharmacological means with certain drugs or chemicals that are injected into the veins. Mechanical thrombolysis, on the other hand, is a treatment that uses saline jets or ultrasound waves to clear the blockage from a vein or artery.

Vascular Surgery

Vascular surgery is perhaps the most common treatment option for acute limb ischemia. Surgery for this condition is known as an embolectomy because the embolism (blood clot) that caused the condition will be surgically removed.

This surgical procedure is accomplished using a small catheter that is threaded through the vein until it reaches the blood clot and the doctor removes it. If removal is not ideal for any reason, the surgeon may instead seal that vein or artery shut around the clot and reroute blood flow around it.

Amputation Surgery

If the acute limb ischemia has gone on for a prolonged period of time and your loved one has total paralysis of the limb in question, the vascular surgical option may not be effective at restoring blood flow to the limb. If vascular surgery fails or is not an option in those situations, the only remaining treatment is the amputation of the limb.

The affected portion of the limb will be carefully removed to ensure that all tissue that still has blood flow is preserved. The surgeon will remove any tissue that has not had oxygen and blood flow to prevent infection to the healthy tissues nearby.

Now that you know the treatment options available for your loved one's acute limb ischemia, you can help them understand their options and give them the support they need as they go through treatments and recovery. Talk to a medical expert, like those at Cedar Surgical Associates PC, to learn more.

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