Critical limb ischaemia is a late state of a progressive arterial occlusive disease, usually of atherosclerotic origin and frequently accelerated by diabetes mellitus.
The treatment of critical limb ischaemia is primarily and classically the domain of revascularisation with angioplasty or surgical reconstruction. A possible form of medical treatment which can often be combined with angioplasty is thrombolytic therapy, usually administered in low doses which decrease the risk of bleeding. In about 50% of patients with critical limb ischaemia, at least partial success can be achieved with an acceptable risk using these methods. For the remaining patients, no established treatment exists other than amputation.