Navigating between the science and art of acute limb ischemia treatment.
The diagnosis and treatment of acute limb ischemia (ALI) has long been a fierce adversary that has evolved over the last several decades with scientific advancements in endovascular therapy. History and physical examination remain the mainstay of diagnosis enhanced by detailed imaging to guide therapy. Many endovascular tools are available for prompt restoration of flow that compliment traditional surgical options. These devices incorporate the mechanical removal of thrombus and the chemical dissolution of thrombus . Medical decision-making for ALI patients must take into account the patient characteristics, anatomic variables, mechanism of ischemia, degree of ischemia, and operator skill to employ the right strategy for the right patient. This moving target challenges scientific study, making the therapeutic bedside decision making an artform. We present an overview of the field, supportive data, and a treatment algorithm that hopefully captures this delicate balance.