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Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI)

Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) happens when there is a severe buildup of plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis), reducing blood flow to your hands, feet and legs. It is the advanced for of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). PAD is a circulatory condition caused when narrowed arteries decrease the amount of blood flow to your limbs. Left untreated, 50% of patients with CLI will undergo an amputation or die within the first year.

Approximately 11% of patients with PAD suffer from CLI

While patients with less severe forms of PAD can experience few or even no symptoms from a narrowing of the arteries, signs of CLI often include sores or skin ulcers. What's more, CLI can cause leg pain so severe it can wake you up at night.

CLI is an under diagnosed disease that will not improve on its own. The team at Ochsner provides cutting-edge treatment for CLI, and is dedicated to educating our community about the risks and symptoms of this serious condition.

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The team at Ochsner takes a holistic approach to care. On your side will be a multi-disciplinary, bi-lingual group of experts in specialties such as interventional cardiology, podiatry, vascular medicine, wound care, physical rehabilitation, nutrition, infectious disease, plastic surgery, pathology, endocrinology and cardiology.

From your very first appointment, you and your family will be heard and made to feel like you are part of the team. We're all about individualized, patient-centered care.

Early detection of CLI is key. If you have a small wound and experience any pain or notice any changes, you should schedule an appointment and get it checked out.

Risk factors of CLI include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Advanced age
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Family history of cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Symptoms of CLI often include:

  • Numbness or severe pain in your legs and feet while at rest
  • An obvious decrease in the temperature of your lower leg or foot (compared to the rest of your body)
  • Sore or ulcers on your feet or toes that won't heal or are slow to heal
  • A thickening of your toenails
  • Smooth, shiny, dry skin in your legs or feet
  • Diminished or absent pulse in your legs or feet
  • Gangrene

This potentially limb-threatening condition requires immediate treatment to re-establish blood flow. Depending on the progression of the disease, treatment may include medications, endovascular treatments or arterial surgery. Our team does everything we can to prevent the need for amputation.

The Ochsner team is currently part of the Promise II Trial, researching new devices that will help improve blood flow to the limb in patients with late-stage chronic limb-threatening ischemia. Chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) is the most advanced form of PAD. The LimFlow approach to treating CLTI involves the concept of venous arterialization.

The purpose of this clinical study is to evaluate a new device designed to create a connection between the artery and vein in the Below The Knee (BTK) vascular system using a minimally invasive approach. This procedure is only for patients with “critical limb ischemia” that are not likely to be helped with standard operations or procedures. If you choose to take part in the study, you will receive the device to attempt to connect an artery and a vein to restore blood flow to the foot. The LimFlow System and procedure are experimental, meaning that they are being tested and are not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale.

The risk of mortality after amputation is significant, therefore you should always get a second opinion before undergoing this serious procedure. Our team is here to offer second opinions in a timely manner. Call 504-842-7434 today.

If you have ulcers or pain in your legs or feet when walking or at rest, make an appointment as soon as possible. Early detection is important to a successful outcome. We value your legs and your life. Please call us at 504-842-7434 or visit my.ochsner.org to schedule an appointment.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI)

Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) Locations

Ochsner American Legion Hospital
1634 Elton Road
Jennings, LA 70546
  • : 2:49 a.m.-2:49 a.m.
  • Open 24/7
St. Charles Parish Hospital
1057 Paul Maillard Road
Luling, LA 70070
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Medical Center - Kenner
180 West Esplanade Ave.
Kenner, LA 70065
  • Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.