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Medical Negligence
Lower Limb Ischaemia

Lower Limb Ischaemia

If lower limb ischaemia is not treated in a prompt fashion, the patient may require an amputation of the toes, foot or leg. If this has happened to you, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. Contact us today to find out more.

What is lower limb ischaemia?

Lower limb ischaemia is when the blood supply to the leg becomes blocked, preventing the flow of blood and oxygen.

Around 90% of lower limb ischaemic cases are caused by a condition called atheroma, which is when the arteries in the leg harden. Factors that increase the risk of atheroma include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and inherited factors.

Atheroma can progress slowly, leading to chronic lower limb ischaemia. Often this is caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking and high blood pressure. Symptoms include pain in the calf while walking, pain in the foot while in bed (which is normally relieved by handing the foot out of the bed) and skin damage.

Atheroma can also progress very quickly, leading to acute lower limb ischaemia. Often this will happen due to a clot that gets stuck in the arteries (called an embolism), or due to some type of catastrophe that blocks the artery in the leg (such as an accident). Symptoms include severe pain in the leg, coldness and paleness of the leg, reduced sensation/numbness in the limb and loss of the peripheral pulse.

Treating lower limb ischaemia

Acute lower limb ischaemia is a medical emergency, meaning surgical treatment to restore blood flow must be provided immediately This is because there is only a small window of opportunity in which to save the limb. If the leg is starved of blood and oxygen for more than 24 hours, amputation will be the only option.

Chronic lower limb ischaemia must also be treated promptly, although it is not a medical emergency as with acute ischaemia. Nevertheless, treatment must still be provided to save the limb. This may involve management of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and an exercise regime. Surgical treatment must be provided to patients whose skin has begun to break down, as this represents 'critical ischaemia'. At this stage, surgical treatment must be provided within days.

Delayed diagnosis of lower limb ischaemia

If medical professionals fail to diagnose lower limb ischaemia, resulting in a delay in treatment, the consequences can be devastating. The muscle and nerves will quickly begin to break down, and within a short space of time will become gangrenous, after which an amputation may be necessary.

If you have undergone an amputation because doctors failed to diagnose your lower limb ischaemia, you could be entitled to claim compensation for the terrible impact this has had on your life. Contact us today to find out more.

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