The clinical features of an acute peripheral arterial embolus are considered to be a rigidly fixed series of events, namely, sudden, abrupt, excruciating pain followed by numbness, pallor of the extremity, and absent pulsations. However this sequence of events may be the exception rather than the rule, inasmuch as the onset of pain may be insidious and, in some instances, preceded by paresthesias of the involved extremity. In many instances the diagnosis of a peripheral arterial embolus depends on the assessment of minor signs and symptoms. Next to pain, the vascular disturbances manifested by absent arterial pulsations and color and temperature changes in the involved extremity are prominent features of an acute arterial occlusion. The frequent association of cardiac abnormalities with peripheral arterial embolus should be well known. In addition there is a prevalence of emboli involving the femoral artery.
Phelan JT, Young WP. DIAGNOSIS OF PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL EMBOLI OF THE EXTREMITIES. JAMA. 1958;168(10):1299–1302. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.03000100001001
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