Upper Limb Embolus: A Timely Diagnosis

Mark G. Davies, Kevin O'Malley, Martin Feeley, Mary Paula Colgan, Dermot J. Moore, Gregor Shanik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


In a ten year period, 36 patients were treated surgically for embolic occlusion of upper limb vessels. The sources of embolus were cardiac (58%), peripheral aneurysm (22%) and unknown (20%). Brachial embolectomy was performed in all cases. Six out of eight peripheral aneurysms were resected. A patency rate of 94% was achieved at five years. Hospital mortality and morbidity rates were 3% and 10%, respectively. One patient died of a myocardial infarct one week postoperatively. Three patients suffered ischemic contracture or amputation; all three presented after 36 hours. We conclude that upper limb emboli are usually easy to recognize and treat. Prompt surgery (< 24 hours) produces the most satisfactory results. Late presentation or delay in treatment can result in limb loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-87
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • brachial embolectomy
  • Embolism
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • upper limb emboius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Davies, M. G., O'Malley, K., Feeley, M., Colgan, M. P., Moore, D. J., & Shanik, G. (1991). Upper Limb Embolus: A Timely Diagnosis. Annals of Vascular Surgery, 5(1), 85-87. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02021785