arterial leg ulceration

Last reviewed 01/2018

Arterial ulceration is caused by reduced blood supply to the lower limb.

  • it is the second most common ulcer in the lower extremity and accounts for about 10% all leg ulcers
  • both sexes are equally affected (1)

Arterial or arteriolar obstruction leads to ischemia of the skin and subcutaneous tissues which may result in formation of ulcers (2).  

  • such impairment may occur acutely (e.g. trauma, thrombosis) or chronically (e.g. - atherosclerosis) and both may lead to ulceration
  • peripheral vascular disease due to atherosclerosis is the most common cause of arterial ulceration
    • it is commonly seen in  men older than 45 and women older than 55
    • some patients may have a family history of premature atherosclerotic disease
  • other causes (some of which may predispose to the formation of atheroma) include: diabetes with microvascular or macrovascular disease, vasculitis, pyoderma gangrenosum, thalassaemia, and sickle cell disease (1,2)