U.K. researchers are using a new MRI-based mapping technique that may reduce the need for amputation in patients with critical limb ischemia.
The method, described in an article published on 27 January in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, allows physicians to immediately see how blood is delivered to a leg muscle immediately after an operation.
Currently, surgeons may need to wait days or weeks to determine the success or failure of surgery on people with severely reduced blood flow to their limbs.
Researchers from St. Thomas' Hospital in London used the new MRI-based mapping technique before and after treatment on 34 people with critical limb ischemia, which occurs when the arteries in the limbs become blocked. A control group of 22 healthy people also were included in the study.
By seeing the condition of the leg and the blood flow, surgeons can either bypass the artery during the operation or widen the artery with a stent.