Background: Thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO or Buerger’s disease) is a non-atherosclerotic inflammatory vascular disease usually related to smoking. Until now, there is no consensus establishing the diagnosis and standard treatment.
Case Illustration: A 74-year-old smoker woman complained of blackening and painful fingertips in both upper limbs. On upper-extremities examination, we found necrotic gangrene at the 3rd fingertips of the right hand, and the 2nd and 4th fingertips of the left hand, with limitation of the movement at the affected finger due to the pain. On laboratory findings, there was a leukocytosis, mild Anemia, no coagulopathy, and normal autoimmune screening. Doppler Ultrasonography showed vascular incompetence of the left palmar arch artery, with no deep or superficial vein thrombosis. Arteriography revealed multiple stenosis of the Left Radial artery and Right Ulnar artery with collateral corkscrew-shaped. The patient was diagnosed with peripheral Critical Limb Threatening Ischemia caused by TAO, which underwent conservative management for 10 days and Percutaneous Trans Angioplasty (PTA) ballooning.
Discussion: Buerger disease commonly affects smoker men between 40-45 years old. Several clinical criteria were used to establish TAO, including Shinoya and Olin's criteria. There are still no specific management guidelines for TAO, and smoking cessation is the only accepted effective treatment to prevent the progression of the disease and avoid amputation, followed by conservative and interventional management for patients with Critical Limb Ischemia.
Conclusions: Awareness of the entity and familiarity with the clinical, angiographic, and pathologic features are the keys to a prompt and correct diagnosis of TAO. Although still controversial, endovascular intervention is regarded as a potentially efficacious approach in TAO with critical limb ischemia management.