SARS-CoV-2 infection has been associated with thrombotic complications such as deep vein thrombosis or stroke. Recently, numerous cases of acute limb ischemia (ALI) have been reported although pooled data are lacking.
We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library for studies published online up to January 2021 that reported cases with SARS-CoV-2 infection and ALI. Eligible studies should have reported early outcomes including mortality. Primary endpoints included also pooled amputation, clinical improvement and reoperation rates.
In total, 34 studies (19 case reports and 15 case series/cohort studies) including a total of 540 patients (199 patients were eligible for analysis) were evaluated. All studies were published in 2020. Mean age of patients was 61.6 years (range 39-84 years; data from 32 studies) and 78.4% of patients were of male gender (data from 32 studies). There was a low incidence of comorbidities: arterial hypertension: 49% (29 studies); diabetes mellitus: 29.6% (29 studies); dyslipidemia: 20.5% (27 studies); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 8.5% (26 studies); coronary disease: 8.3% (26 studies); and chronic renal disease: 7.6% (28 studies). Medical treatment was selected as first-line treatment for 41.8% of cases. Pooled mortality rate among 34 studies reached 31.4% (95% CI = 25.4% to 37.7%). Pooled amputation rate among 34 studies reached 23.2% (95% CI = 17.3% to 29.7%). Pooled clinical improvement rate among 28 studies reached 66.6% (95% CI = 55.4% to 76.9%). Pooled reoperation rate among 29 studies reached 10.5% (95% CI = 5.7% to 16.7%). Medical treatment was associated with a higher death risk compared to any intervention (OR = 4.04; 95% CI [1.075 – 15.197]; P = .045) although amputation risk was not different between the two strategies (OR = .977; 95% CI [.070 – 13.600]; P = .986) (data from 31 studies).
SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with a high risk for thrombotic complications including ALI. Covid-associated ALI presents in patients with a low incidence of comorbidities, and it is associated with a high mortality and amputation risk. Conservative treatment seems to have a higher mortality risk compared to any intervention although amputation risk is similar.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.