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Revista Colombiana de Cardiología

versión impresa ISSN 0120-5633


KARLES-ERNOTTE, Alfredo J. et al. Therapeutic effect of alprostadil in patients with critical lower limb ischemia. Rev. Colomb. Cardiol. [online]. 2017, vol.24, n.1, pp.60-65. ISSN 0120-5633.


Management of critical lower limb ischemia represents a challenge for the vascular surgeon due to the high rate of amputations and mortality. Current management options include

femorodistal bypass, angioplasty with or without stent and laser or mechanical resection of the plaque. They present a low success rate in the long run and a number of supracondylar amputations that still remains high.


This prospective study included 173 patients diagnosed with advanced stage critical lower limb ischemia who were treated with systemic intravenous alprostadil (60 - 120 mcg/day) during 8 days. Response was measured clinically with improvement of capillary refill and using the visual analog scale for pain.


Upon discharge 94.3% of patients improved their visual analogue scale score for pain (p < 0.0001). Follow-up for more than a year of alprostadil treatment revealed that 97% of patients significantly improved their ischemia status, thus avoiding further amputation. No response to treatment was observed in patients who had previously undergone endovascular surgery (5 patients).

Conclusions: Treating patients with critical lower limb ischemia with intravenous alprostadil, administering daily doses of between 60 and 120 mcg during 28 days shows that this drug is safe

and causes minimal secondary effects. This therapy significantly improves Rutherford’s function state in these patients and avoids further amputations.

Palabras clave : Peripheral artery disease; Ischemia; Prostaglandins; Reperfusion.

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