How is CLI Treated?

Patient enrollment is complete for the LIFE-BTK clinical trial. A special thanks to the investigators, research coordinators and enrolled patients for making this trial possible.

How is Critical Limb Ischemia Treated?

The most common treatment of people who have CLI in below-the-knee arteries is balloon angioplasty.

Doctors do this by opening narrowed arteries that are blocked by temporarily inflating a tiny balloon to improve blood flow and to reduce a patient’s risk of amputation.This treatment has not changed for many years and in many cases the vessels become blocked again, requiring repeat procedures.

For some patients, surgical procedures are performed. If left untreated, critical limb ischemia can eventually lead to amputation.

Several medications may be prescribed to reduce the pain and to slow the spread of the disease. Medications that prevent blood clots or fight infections may also be prescribed.1,2

The goal of the LIFE-BTK study is to assess whether the Esprit BTK scaffold could offer greater benefits than the current option of balloon angioplasty to open the blocked arteries in the leg.

Dr. White, Cardiologist, explains the consequences of
Peripheral Artery Disease.

Learn from Dr. Bajakian, Director, CLI Program at Columbia, how PAD presents itself in different races, ethnicities and genders.

Most Common Treatment


  • Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA)
  • A small balloon is inserted into the vessel and inflated to open the blockage, and re-establish blood flow to the lower leg and feet
  • The balloon is then removed from the vessel


  1. American Heart Association website. About peripheral artery disease (PAD). Accessed April 9, 2021.
  2. Uccioli L, Meloni M, Izzo V, et al. Critical limb ischemia: current challenges and future prospects. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2018;14:63-74.