Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affecting the lower limb occurs where there is a blood circulation disorder of the arteries that supply the limbs, which may be partial (due to a stenosis) or complete (due to an occlusion).
In approx. 95 % of cases, chronic PAD is caused by atherosclerosis. It is a complex medical condition, which may be asymptomatic in its early stages, although that may affect all arterial vascular regions of the body. In addition to the large peripheral vessels, smaller vessels supplying the skin and muscles are often affected.
Acute severe peripheral circulatory disorders are rarer than the chronic form, developing from acute embolic or atherothrombotic vascular obstructions such as plaque rupture. The following guideline recommendations address acute and chronic arterial circulatory disorders in the lower limbs distal to the abdominal aorta.