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Acute limb ischaemia due to vasospasm: a rare presentation
  1. Raed Al Yacoub,
  2. Jaymin Patel,
  3. Neha Solanky and
  4. Nila S Radhakrishnan
  1. Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Raed Al Yacoub; raed.alyacoub{at}


A 30-year-old woman with active intravenous drug use presented with pain, blue discolouration, paresthesia and lack of grip strength of left hand for 1 week. Physical examination revealed blue discolouration, decreased sensation and cold to touch in the left hand. She had no palpable radial pulse. She admitted Heroin use only but the urine drug screen was also positive for amphetamine. CT angiogram of the left upper extremity was concerning for acute ischaemia due to arterial occlusion. The initial plan was for amputation. However, to salvage the limb with thrombolysis, an interventional radiology angiogram was performed. The angiogram demonstrated diffuse arterial spasm and response to nitroglycerin. She was treated with nitroglycerin drip and transitioned to a calcium channel blocker. She did improve significantly. To ensure no embolic sequelae, the patient was discharged with a month of oral anticoagulation.

  • interventional radiology
  • drug therapy related to surgery
  • medical management
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • vascular surgery

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  • Contributors The authors RAY, NSR, NS and JP have contributed sufficiently to the project and have met all criteria to be included as authors. All authors has no relevant financial interest in this manuscript and no activities, affiliations or relationships to disclose. All authors have no published or submitted any related papers from the same study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.