South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
OBJECTIVES: To study the use of limb perfusion scans in children with limb-threatening ischaemia and determine whether such scans are helpful in making clinical decisions. METHODS: This retrospective study compared the clinical, scan and surgical findings in children who had limb perfusion scans for critical limb ischaemia at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, from July 2001 to December 2010. Records were reviewed and the data analysed for aetiology, clinical findings, limb perfusion results, operative findings and outcome. RESULTS: There were complete clinical and scan records for 20/22 patients, aged 1 month to 12 years. The causes of limb ischaemia were meningococcal septicaemia (n=9), septic shock (n=6), hypovolaemic shock due to gastroenteritis (n=4), and electrical burns (n=1). The clinical, scan and surgical findings correlated in 40/48 imaged limbs. In one leg the findings did not correlate, but the perfusion scan results predicted the outcome. In the remaining seven cases the exact correlation was uncertain owing to technical difficulties or absent operative notes. CONCLUSION: This study describes a method for performing limb perfusion studies in children. Limb perfusion studies correlated well with surgical findings. These studies were useful in treatment decisions, parent and patient counselling and surgical planning. They supplemented clinical examination in assessment of the children.