This is due to sudden blockage of the artery stopping the blood supply to the part it supplies. It could arise in multiple situations but two are commonly noted:
- Sudden blockage due to a blood clot from the heart.
- Sudden blockage to the flow of blood following an injury to the artery in a road traffic accident, a stab injury or gunshot injury.
When complete blockage takes place then you have only 6 golden hours to save the limb. If revascularization is not done soon then amputation of the involved limb will result.
How will you know there is a blocked artery needing urgent attention?
Remember the 6 ’Ps’ – Pain, Pale, Paresthesia, Paralysis, Pulseless and Perishing with cold.
Pain is so severe that no pain killers are helpful:
- Pale – the limb is white because there is no blood flow.
- Paresthesia – the limb is numb because the nerves are starved due to lack of blood supply.
- Paralysis – there is reduced to no movement because the muscles of the limb have no nutrition which comes through blood.
- Pulseless – The doctor feels no pulses as there is no blood flow.
- Perishing with cold – the limb is ice cold because of the lack of blood supply.