LimFlow System for Chronic Limb-threatening Ischemia

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LimFlow System treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that can save the loss of a foot or leg if you have a severe form of peripheral artery disease (PAD) called chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI), also known as critical limb ischemia.

If you have chronic limb-threatening ischemia, limited blood flow to your lower leg and foot puts you at high risk of limb amputation. The disease can be fatal.

Treatment with the LimFlow System allows your vascular surgeon to make use of a vein in your leg to bypass a blocked artery, in a process called transcatheter arterialization. In other words, the LimFlow procedure reverses the blood flow in a leg vein, which normally carries oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. This makes it do the work of an artery, carrying oxygen-rich blood to your foot.

While LimFlow treatment can save PAD patients from losing a limb, it doesn’t address the root cause of the peripheral artery disease. The buildup of cholesterol that leads to arteriosclerosis — accumulation of plaque on the inside of your blood vessels — and PAD, likely is occurring elsewhere in your body, where it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Vascular Surgery at Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Not all cases of peripheral artery disease require surgery. The specialists at Norton Heart & Vascular Institute have the expertise and experience to know when medication can improve the condition and when vascular surgery is needed to restore blood flow in your leg or foot.

Our vascular surgeons are at the forefront of advances in PAD treatment. Norton Heart & Vascular Institute uses an innovative, minimally invasive technique to restore blood flow below the knee in certain patients with chronic limb-threatening ischemia. Our specialists can use a device to route blood flow around a blocked artery, redirecting the flow to a vein in the leg to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the foot.

If you have PAD symptoms, consult your primary care provider. Norton Community Medical Associates primary care has offices across the Louisville and Southern Indiana region and beyond. Norton Immediate Care Centers and Norton Prompt Care clinics offer faster access at times that may be more convenient for you.

Peripheral artery disease gets worse over time. A patient who hasn’t developed a case severe enough for the LimFlow procedure can delay the progression of the disease by changing their diet, quitting smoking, exercising more and taking prescribed medication. Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers a full range of treatment for PAD aimed at reducing your risk of severe complications. In addition to medication and lifestyle changes, your doctor may refer you to the Peripheral Arterial Disease Supervised Exercise Therapy Program for a 12-week treadmill-based program designed to improve your quality of life and mobility.

Angioplasty and bypass surgery are also options for many patients with CLTI.

A patient with CLTI will have pain, nonhealing wounds and gangrene and will risk progressing to amputation above the ankle in most cases if all other treatments are exhausted.

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute is first in Kentucky to offer the LimFlow procedure. That means our vascular surgeons have more experience and training with the procedure than other providers.

To deploy the LimFlow system, your vascular surgeon makes two small incisions — one in your groin to access an artery and another in your foot to access a deep vein. Approaching the blockage in your lower leg from both directions, your vascular surgeon brings the two close together inside your leg, usually in your calf.

The catheter in your artery pierces through the blood vessel wall and connects with the catheter in your vein. The LimFlow device is then placed to send blood from your heart into the vein, to your foot; blood then resumes its normal course back to your lungs and heart to pick up more oxygen.

The Food and Drug Administration approved LimFlow in September 2023 following a successful clinical trial.

Results of the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Of the 105 patients with CLTI who underwent the LimFlow procedure, 76% successfully avoided limb loss after six months. Wound healing was complete in 25% of patients and in the process of healing in 51%. No unexpected adverse events were reported.

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to individuals who have had a heart attack, are living with a heart condition or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Every year, more than 137,000 people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists for their heart and vascular care. That’s more than any other health care provider.

  • Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville all have received Chest Pain Center accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). This is the seventh consecutive accreditation for all four hospitals, which ensures quality for the treatment of heart attack.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital all are recognized as having ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI accreditation.
  • Norton Healthcare has the most facilities across the city of Louisville with the ability treat a life-threatening heart attack.
  • You have access to more than 100 physicians and advanced practice providers with specialized training and experience in a comprehensive range of conditions and treatments.
  • Patients can make appointments at 28 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 sites in the region.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, a key location for Norton Heart & Vascular Institute services, has been recognized with a HeartCare Center National Distinction of Excellence year after year by the American College of Cardiology. This is the only hospital in Louisville to be recognized for this distinction.
  • U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best Hospitals ranked Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville as high performing in heart attack, heart failure, aortic valve surgery and heart bypass surgery.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital earned ventricular assist device (VAD) accreditation from DNV – Healthcare and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Communicate with your health care provider, renew prescriptions, get lab results and more through your free Norton MyChart account.

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