Global vascular guidelines on the management of chronic limb-threatening ischemia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • GVG Writing Group for the Joint Guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS), and World Federation of Vascular Societies (WFVS)

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Department of Biomedical and Preclinical Sciences, University Hospital of Liège, Wallonia, Belgium.
  • Department of Surgery, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Niles, IL, USA.
  • Department of Vascular Surgery, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, and University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.
  • University of Adelaide
  • Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
  • Department of Clinical Research, University Hospitalof Poitiers, Poitiers, France.
  • Jain Institute of Vascular Sciences, Bangalore, India.
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Department of Cardiology, Dupuytren, University Hospital, France.
  • Department of Vascular Surgery American, Hospital, Turkey.
  • University of Liège CHU Sart-Tilman Hospital, Belgium.
  • University of Southern California, USC / Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Asahikawa Medical University, Japan.
  • Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK ; Department of Clinical Genetics, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK.
  • Escuela de Medicina Pontificia Universidad
  • University of Uppsala
  • University Hospital of Strasbourg, France.
  • Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Adelaide, and Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia.
  • University Heart Center Hamburg, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Minnesota
  • Technical University Munich
  • Interventional Cardiovascular Unit, Cardiology Department, Istituto Clinico, Città Studi, Milan, Italy.
  • King's College Hospital, Hematology Department, London, UK.
  • Università di Bologna
  • University of Washington
  • Sheffield Vascular Institute, UK.
  • Greenville Health System, USA.
  • 301 General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, China.
  • Care Hospital, Banjara Hills
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
  • University of Ottawa
  • Nagoya University
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA.
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Sanno Hospital and Sanno Medical Center, Japan.
  • Oregon Health and Sciences University
  • Clinic Venart, Mexico.
  • Colombia National University, Colombia.
  • University of Buenos Aires
  • Duke University
  • St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, USA.
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Mt. Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore.
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Guideline Summary: Chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) is associated with mortality, amputation, and impaired quality of life. These Global Vascular Guidelines (GVG) are focused on definition, evaluation, and management of CLTI with the goals of improving evidence-based care and highlighting critical research needs. The term CLTI is preferred over critical limb ischemia, as the latter implies threshold values of impaired perfusion rather than a continuum. CLTI is a clinical syndrome defined by the presence of peripheral artery disease (PAD) in combination with rest pain, gangrene, or a lower limb ulceration >2 weeks duration. Venous, traumatic, embolic, and nonatherosclerotic etiologies are excluded. All patients with suspected CLTI should be referred urgently to a vascular specialist. Accurately staging the severity of limb threat is fundamental, and the Society for Vascular Surgery Threatened Limb Classification system, based on grading of Wounds, Ischemia, and foot Infection (WIfI) is endorsed. Objective hemodynamic testing, including toe pressures as the preferred measure, is required to assess CLTI. Evidence-based revascularization (EBR) hinges on three independent axes: Patient risk, Limb severity, and ANatomic complexity (PLAN). Average-risk and high-risk patients are defined by estimated procedural and 2-year all-cause mortality. The GVG proposes a new Global Anatomic Staging System (GLASS), which involves defining a preferred target artery path (TAP) and then estimating limb-based patency (LBP), resulting in three stages of complexity for intervention. The optimal revascularization strategy is also influenced by the availability of autogenous vein for open bypass surgery. Recommendations for EBR are based on best available data, pending level 1 evidence from ongoing trials. Vein bypass may be preferred for average-risk patients with advanced limb threat and high complexity disease, while those with less complex anatomy, intermediate severity limb threat, or high patient risk may be favored for endovascular intervention. All patients with CLTI should be afforded best medical therapy including the use of antithrombotic, lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, and glycemic control agents, as well as counseling on smoking cessation, diet, exercise, and preventive foot care. Following EBR, long-term limb surveillance is advised. The effectiveness of nonrevascularization therapies (eg, spinal stimulation, pneumatic compression, prostanoids, and hyperbaric oxygen) has not been established. Regenerative medicine approaches (eg, cell, gene therapies) for CLTI should be restricted to rigorously conducted randomizsed clinical trials. The GVG promotes standardization of study designs and end points for clinical trials in CLTI. The importance of multidisciplinary teams and centers of excellence for amputation prevention is stressed as a key health system initiative.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2019 European Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1-S109.e33
Number of pages142
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Chronic limb-threatening ischemia, Critical limb ischaemia, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, foot ulcer, endovascular intervention, bypass surgery, practice guideline, evidence-based medicine, Peripheral artery disease, Critical limb ischemia, Evidence-based medicine, Practice guideline, Endovascular intervention, Foot ulcer, Bypass surgery, Diabetes

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