Acute arterial ischemia of the lower extremities is a major cause of mortality and limb loss in patients with peripheral vascular disease. Patients with acute limb ischemia secondary to embolus or in situ thrombosis usually require emergency revascularization, either surgically or with the use of thrombolytic agents. It is commonly assumed that heparin therapy alone, without disobliterative intervention, can produce clinical improvement through continued patency and enlargement of the collateral circulation. The occurrence of spontaneous thrombolysis of major limb vessels is not generally accepted. We describe three patients, all with confirmed occlusion of either the iliac or superficial femoral arteries, who had spontaneous thrombolysis of occluded vessels. These experiences document that spontaneous resolution of arterial occlusion does occur, although it may be infrequent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine