The superficial femoral artery (SFA) is distinctive in that it extends the entire length of the thigh without having any major side branches. The SFA is also vulnerable to a variety of forces, comprising flexion, contraction, extension, twisting, and compression, which change the flow dynamics.
The SFA is a location of atherosclerotic disease that occurs in a very high percentage of patients. At the adductor (Hunter’s canal) level, stenotic lesions in this artery are most frequently seen. These lesions are often the cause of calf claudication and, when combined with other lesions, can lead to pain at rest and limb-threatening ischemia. Progressive SFA stenosis frequently leads to total SFA occlusion.
Occlusion of the superficial femoral artery (also known as SFA occlusion) is a condition in which the SFA is obstructed or restricted, which reduces the amount of blood that flows to the leg. Intermittent claudication affects 4.5% of males aged 55-74 years, and SFA occlusive disease is a frequent cause.
SFA Occlusion Right & Left
SFA occlusion is a condition in which the superficial femoral artery (SFA) becomes obstructed or constricted, decreasing blood flow to the leg muscles. Both the right and left sides are equally susceptible to this condition. The SFA is a vital blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles in the thighs and calves.
Pain, cramping, and weakness in the legs are all possible symptoms of SFA blockage, and they often worsen with activity. Numbness and tingling of the affected limb also occur in some patients. SFA blockage also causes ulcers, gangrene, and tissue damage.
SFA Occlusion Symptoms
The occlusion of a main lower extremity artery is a fundamental trigger for the expansion of pre-existing collateral arteries, with the superficial femoral artery (SFA) being the most prevalent location of lower extremity arterial occlusions. Occlusion of the SFA can result in intermittent claudication, ischemia discomfort, and reduced leg perfusion. The “six Ps” are pain, paresthesia, paralysis, pallor, pulselessness, and poikilothermia and they are the signs of acute arterial occlusion in the affected limb, which is generally the leg.
SFA Occlusion Causes
Several factors can lead to SFA (superficial femoral artery) occlusion, which is defined as a narrowing or blocking of the SFA that reduces blood supply to the leg muscles. The following are some of the most typical causes of SFA occlusion:
This is by far the most common reason for SFA obstruction. It happens when fatty plaque builds up on the inside of the artery walls, making the arteries narrow.
This happens when a blood clot or debris from another part of the body, like the heart or an artery aneurysm, travels through the bloodstream and obstructs the SFA.
SFA occlusion can also be caused by direct damage to the artery, such as a broken hip or knee or a dislocated joint.
Occlusion of the SFA is often caused by some inflammatory disorders, including vasculitis and Buerger’s disease, which can produce inflammation and swelling of the walls of the artery, which in turn can lead to the occlusion of the SFA.
The Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy, which is used to treat cancer in the pelvis or thigh region, can cause damage to the superficial femoral artery (SFA), which can then lead to blockage of the SFA.
Smoking is a big risk factor for SFA occlusion because it damages the walls of the arteries and raises the risk of atherosclerosis.
SFA Occlusion Treatment
The treatment for SFA (superficial femoral artery) occlusion is contingent upon the severity of the obstruction and the underlying cause. Restoring blood supply to the afflicted area and relieving symptoms are the primary goals of treatment. The following are some of the therapy options available for patients suffering from SFA occlusion:
Healthcare providers mostly prescribe medications to assist in lowering cholesterol levels, preventing blood clots, or reducing arterial inflammation.
Changes in Lifestyle
Making lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, quitting smoking, and addressing any underlying medical issues, can assist increase blood flow and stop future arterial constriction.
These procedures entail placing a catheter into the blocked artery and either expanding it with a balloon or securing it open with a stent.
In some circumstances, surgery is required to remove the blockage or to bypass the afflicted artery with a graft.
This is a treatment that includes injecting a clot-dissolving medicine directly into the blocked artery to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow.