Ischemic changes of the digits caused by emboli are rare. When they do occur, the typical sites of origin include the heart, the proximal subclavian artery, and the thoracic outlet. Dialysis access or iatrogenic injuries may be a more distal source of emboli. Two patients, each with embolization to the thumb and index finger from a lesion in the anatomical snuff-box, were studied. Neither patient had any other atherosclerotic occlusive disease, and both lesions occurred precisely where the extensor pollicis longus crossed the artery and would be expected to compress it against the proximal epiphysis of the first metacarpal when the hand was dosed. These lesions were excised, and bypass was performed, with rapid resolution of symptoms. This is an unusual cause of digital embolization that should be considered in patients with emboli to the thumb and index finger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-714
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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