- Critical limb ischemia is usually caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking.
- The new treatment prevents old blockages and supplies blood to the foot.
People with severe blood flow problems will soon be able to receive a revolutionary treatment that will prevent amputation.
The procedure, called LimFlow, treats a type of blood vessel disease called critical limb ischemia, where blockages in the arteries cut off the blood supply to the legs and feet.
The condition, which is usually caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking or being overweight, severely affects mobility and causes around 5,000 amputations a year in the UK. But LimFlow can significantly reduce the risk of limb loss, according to trial results about to be published.
The procedure involves inserting small tubes into the leg that divert blood flow around blockages to return supply to the foot. Once the UK findings are published, health regulators will be able to decide whether to offer the innovative treatment on the NHS.
People with severe blood flow problems may soon receive a revolutionary treatment that will prevent amputation
Critical limb ischemia, where blockages in the arteries cut off the blood supply to the legs and feet. It is often caused by lifestyle factors such as obesity and
The NHS’s spending watchdog, NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, has already begun a review of LimFlow and is expected to publish its decision by the end of the year.
Last week, U.S. medical regulators, the Food and Drug Administration, approved LimFlow for patients who had not responded to other critical treatments for limb ischemia, including lifestyle changes, medications and surgery . The move followed a US study, published in April, which found that three out of four patients undergoing the procedure were able to avoid amputation.
LimFlow spokesperson John Weaver said launching the procedure in the UK was now a “top priority” for the company.
Critical limb ischaemia affects around 60,000 Britons each year. Fat deposits build up in the arteries in the legs, causing the blood vessels to narrow over time, reducing circulation in the legs and feet.
This means that wounds and ulcers take time to heal and life-threatening infections are more likely to occur. While there are several treatments, including inserting a stent (a small mesh tube) into the artery to widen the vessel, they are often unsuccessful.
During the LimFlow procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, two tubes are inserted into the patient: one through the groin and one through the ankle. The tubes are connected where they are, at the point of obstruction. This allows blood to flow around the buildup of fat deposits.