The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted patients with conditions that are associated with significant morbidity, but might not be immediately life-threatening. Patients with chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) were affected by delays in care, potentially increasing major limb amputations. This study sought to review strategies employed, and limb salvage outcomes reported, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We performed a literature review of the electronic database PubMed from December 2019 to December 2020. Articles subjected to analysis must have had a specific CLTI group before the pandemic to compare to the pandemic group. Case reports, case series, and non-CLTI comparisons were excluded. The literature search yielded 55 articles for review, of which 6 articles met criteria for analysis. The main classifications used for disease stratification included Rutherford, Fontaine, and SVS WIfI (Wound, Ischemia, Foot Infection). Overall, a decrease in vascular clinical volume was reported, ranging from 29% to 54%. A higher major limb amputation rate (2.6% to 32.2%) during the pandemic surge was reported in 5 of 6 publications. Four of 6 studies also reported minor amputations; 3 of these demonstrated an increase in minor amputations (7% to 17.7%). The CLTI population is vulnerable and it appears that both minor and major amputation rates increased in this population during the pandemic. The limited data available in CLTI patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and use of different stratifications schemes in areas impacted to variable extents prevent recommendations for the best treatment strategy. Further data are required to improve strategies for treating this population to minimize negative outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine