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Arteritis Obliterans of the lower Limbs

Arthropathy of the lower limbs (AOMI) is defined as a narrowing of the artery of the lower limbs, causing both painful and cardiovascular symptoms.

Definition of obliterative arteriopathy of the lower limbs (AOMI)

The lower limb arteriopathy of the lower limbs (AOMI) is characterized by a decrease in the diameter of the arteries irrigating the lower limbs: hips, legs, feet, etc.

The main arteries that allow the blood supply to this part of the body are: the iliac artery (at the level of the pelvis), the femoral artery (at the level of the femur) and the tibial artery (at the level of the tibia). These are also the most widely affected arteries in the disease.

The narrowing of the caliber of these arteries is the consequence of the formation of plaques of atheroma: cellular debris, and accumulation of cholesterol.

The obliterative artheropathy of the lower limbs is generally non-symptomatic, at first. The patient is unaware that he is affected.

The decrease in the arterial diameter induces a drop in the systolic pressure (blood pressure circulating in the body, during the contraction of the heart), in the lower limbs.

Two forms of ischemia (decreased arterial vascularization) can then be differentiated:

exercise ischemia, which may or may not have ischemic symptoms

permanent ischemia, whose clinical signs are more often visible.

Epidemiological, this disease affects nearly 1.5% of French individuals under the age of 50 years. But also more than 5% of people over the age of 50 and 20% of those over 60 years.

Men would have an increased risk of developing this type of arteriopathy, with a ratio of 3 male cases, for 1 female case.

The search for a medical history, as well as the recognition of specific symptoms, is the first steps of the diagnosis of this disease. Follows clinical examinations: pulse measurement, or systolic pressure index (PSI). This second stage allows us to have a vision on the stage of the AOMI.

The causes of obliterative arteriopathy of the lower limbs (AOMI)

The causes of the disease are:

  • diabetes
  • an obesity or overweight
  • hypercholesterolemia
  • a blood pressure
  • smoking
  • physical inactivity

Who is affected by arteriopathy obliterans lower limbs (AOMI)

Each individual may be concerned with the development of such pathology. Nevertheless, predominance is to be associated with the persons of more than 50 years as well as the masculine sex.

Symptoms of lower limb arteriopathy obliterans (AOMI)

The general symptoms of the disease are:

muscle pain in the lower limbs, and more particularly in the legs

the appearance of repeated cramps, also called intermittent claudications

of the skin changes, a temperature change in the lower limbs can also be significant clinical signs.

These symptoms are amplified in the context of a more or less important exposure, in the cold.

Risk factors for obliterative arteriopathy of the lower limbs (AOMI)

Some risk factors exist when developing this type of arteritis. In particular, the underlying cardiovascular disorders, or the advanced age of the individual.


The first phases of the diagnosis of obliterative arteritis of the lower limbs result from clinical observations and examinations: symptoms and visible clinical signs, measurement of the systolic pressure index, measurement of the pulse, etc.

Other complementary examinations can support these early phases: Doppler ultrasound of the lower limbs, a standardized walking test, an aortic ultrasound, an electrocardiogram, or a thorough cardiac and lipid assessment.


The prevention of this disease is based above all on changes in the patient’s lifestyle:

  • cessation of tobacco, if the person is a smoker
  • regular physical activity. Walking, for example, can be strongly recommended
  • regular weight control
  • adoption of a healthy and balanced diet.

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Updated: October 19, 2017 — 2:20 pm
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