The main difference between critical limb ischemia (CLI) and acute limb ischemia (ALI) is the duration of symptoms. CLI symptoms develop over a longer period of time, whereas ALI symptoms develop suddenly.
Learn about symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment.
|Clinical features||Critical limb ischemia||Acute limb ischemia|
|Definition||Severe blockage in the arteries that reduces blood flow to the hands, legs, and feet; may be acute or chronic||Sudden decrease in blood flow to the limb|
|Onset||Develops over time (2 weeks or more)||Occurs within 14 days after symptoms start|
|Causes||Occurs due to blockage of the arteries or narrowing of the arteries in the lower extremities||Occurs due to the formation of clots or blood vessel blockage|
|Physical appearance||Pink||Pale, marble white|
|Pain||Gradual, at rest||Sudden, at rest, calf tenderness|
What is critical limb ischemia?
The main cause of CLI is atherosclerosis, in which plaques build up in the arteries, causing narrowing and reduced blood supply. When atherosclerosis affects the arteries that supply blood to the lower extremities, the condition is called CLI.
What is acute limb ischemia?
Acute limb ischemia is sudden decrease in the blood flow to the legs that poses a threat to the limbs. It is an emergency because there is a high risk of amputation and even death if left untreated.
Main causes of ALI include:
- Thrombosis (atherosclerosis that leads to blood vessel blockage)
- Embolism (blood clots of cardiac origin)
- Trauma (injury due to previous heart surgery such as percutaneous coronary intervention)
Stages of ALI are as follows:
- Class I: Limbs are not threatened. Restoration of blood flow may or may not be necessary.
- Class II: Limb viability is threatened. Restoration of blood flow is needed to prevent tissue death.
- Class III: Irreversible ischemia. Saving the legs is impossible.
|Category||Sensory change||Motor change||Arterial Doppler signals||Venous Doppler signals|
What are risk factors for both CLI and ALI?
Risk factors for both critical limb ischemia and acute limb ischemia are similar:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Critical Limb Ischemia vs. Acute Limb Ischemia Related Articles
What Is the Best Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease?Peripheral artery disease (PAD), peripheral vascular disease (PVD), or peripheral vascular occlusive disease (PVOD) is a common condition where there is a buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) on the walls of the arteries causing them to narrow. PAD is an abnormal narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the hands and feet.
Can Peripheral Artery Disease Affect the Heart?Peripheral artery disease is a condition in which extremities (usually the legs) do not receive sufficient blood flow due to the narrowing of or blocks in arteries. Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of more widespread accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis or plaque).
Healthy Eating: Foods That Help Increase Blood Flow CirculationGood blood flow circulation occurs when you eat the right foods. Choose cayenne pepper, beets, berries, fatty fish, pomegranate, garlic, walnuts, grapes, turmeric, spinach, and citrus fruit to keep blood flowing.
Does My Toe Need Amputation?Toe amputation is a common procedure performed by a wide variety of healthcare providers. One of the most common indications for toe amputation is patients with a diabetic foot. Toe amputation is usually performed as a last resort when medical treatment fails, or the toe cannot be salvaged. Complications of toe amputation include pain, swelling, bruising, blood clotting, and hematoma (blood clot).
Foods That Are Bad for Your HeartIf you want a healthy ticker, there are some foods you’ll want to indulge in every now and then only. Find out which ones and how to make healthy substitutes.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Leg Pain: Causes and Treatments for Aching Calf, Thighs, and MusclesLeg, calf and thigh pain are symptoms of conditions that may involve the muscles, nerves, and more. Sensations like tingling, cramps, and numbness may also occur. Injuries, blood clots, and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis may cause leg pain.
What Are the 6 Ps of Limb Ischemia?The 6 Ps of limb ischemia is a mnemonic device to help identify symptoms, which include, pain, pulselessness, pallor, poikilothermia, paresthesias, and paralysis.
What Are the Levels of Lower-Extremity Amputations?Lower-extremity amputation is the removal of a part/s of the lower limb. Reasons for lower-extremity amputation include peripheral vascular disease (PVD), severe injuries, tumors, infections, andbirth defects. Complications of a lower extremity amputation include wound breakdown and skin problems, swelling, infections, joint contractures, pain, and phantom limb sensation.
What Are the Symptoms of Thrombosis?Depending on the location of the thrombus or blood clot, thrombosis may include pain and warmth in the area of the clot, or chest pain and difficulty breathing if the clot is near the lungs, among other symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Critical Limb Ischemia?The main symptom of critical limb ischemia is pain in the legs and feet even when you are not moving, as well as non-healing skin ulcers and gangrene.
What Is a Guillotine Ankle Amputation?A guillotine ankle amputation is an open type of amputation that involves surgical cutting of all of the tissue from the skin to bone at the level of the ankle. Because this surgery is performed without closure of skin, it is known as open surgery. A guillotine ankle amputation is performed to treat infection and remove drains from the surgical site. The residual leg (stump) closure or revision is carried out in a second surgical procedure.
What Is the Difference Between Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis?Arteriosclerosis is a broader term for the condition in which the arteries narrow and harden, leading to poor circulation of blood throughout the body. Atherosclerosis is a specific kind of arteriosclerosis, but these terms are often used interchangeably. Both conditions lead to decreased blood flow to other parts of the body. Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease, which may either start in childhood or late adulthood.
When Are Digital Amputations Performed?A digital amputation is the surgical removal of a portion of a finger, which can include the tip, end, or joint due to severe injury or elective surgery for a condition that has affected the finger. Surgery can restore sensation and function to the injured finger. Complications of digital amputation include infection, poor wound healing, persisting numbness or allergy, stiffness, abnormal growth, loss of function in the amputated part, painful nerve regeneration following the injury, and adverse reaction to anesthesia (headache, drowsiness, and vomiting). Typical recovery is two to three months.