Updated: 9/30/2019

Buerger Disease (Thromboangiitis Obliterans)

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Snapshot
  • A 30-year-old man presents to his physician’s office for intermittent pain in his hands and feet and discoloration of 3 of his fingers, which he says is painful. He has had pain in his extremities for about 1 year now, but this is the first time he’s seen discoloration of his fingers. He has a 20-pack-year smoking history. 
Introduction
  • Clinical definition
    • an inflammatory vasculitis characterized by claudication from vaso-occlusion
      • also known as thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Epidemiology
    • demographics
      • male > female
        • 3:1 ratio
      • common in adults < 40 years of age
    • risk factors
      • smoking is the strongest risk factor
  • Pathogenesis
    • primarily a medium vessel vasculitis, but the disease can also affect the small vessels 
    • the disease is thought to be due to a combination of immunologic hypersensitivity to tobacco extracts, defects in endothelium-dependent vasodilation, and anti-endothelial cell antibodies
  • Associated conditions
    • Raynaud phenomenon
  • Prognosis
    • typically resolves with cessation of smoking
    • patients who do not stop smoking often eventually undergo amputation
Presentation
  • Symptoms
    • intermittent claudication and pain in the feet or hands
    • numbness or tingling
    • may have autoamputation of digits
    • Raynaud phenomenon
  • Physical exam
    • superficial thrombophlebitis
      • often migratory
      • distended veins with redness and tenderness
      • darkened or discolored skin
    • gangrene
    • cool extremities
    • limb ischemia
      • pain, paresthesia, pallor, mottling, pulselessness, and poikilothermia
    • ischemic ulcers, especially in the toes or fingers
Imaging
  • Echocardiography
    • indication
      • for all patients to exclude another source of distal vessel occlusion
Studies
  • Laboratory evaluation should be used to exclude other autoimmune diseases
  • Arteriography
    • indication
      • diagnostic
    • findings
      • non-atherosclerotic segmental occlusion of primarily medium-sized vessels, but also small-sized vessels
      • corkscrew collaterals found around the area of occlusion
  • Biopsy of involved vessels
    • indication
      • performed only if the diagnosis is uncertain
  • Histology
    • segmental thrombosing vasculitis
  • Making the diagnosis
    • based on a history of current or recent tobacco use and clinical presentation
Differential
  • Raynaud phenomenon
    • distinguishing factor
      • typically does not result in ulcers, gangrene, or need for amputation
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
    • distinguishing factor
      • often is accompanied by systemic symptoms such as fever or weight loss and is not associated with smoking
Treatment
  • Management approach
    • Buerger disease and its progression are strongly associated with smoking use
      • therefore, management is aimed at smoking cessation, and pharmacologic therapy is ineffective
  • Conservative
    • smoking cessation
      • indication
        • for all patients
    • activities to increase circulation
      • indication
        • for all patients
      • modalities
        • apply warmth
        • exercise
  • Operative
    • amputation
      • indications
        • nonhealing ulcers
        • gangrene
        • pain refractory to all other measures
Complications
  • Sepsis
  • Need for amputation
 

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Questions (1)
Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Volume  
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Urine  
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2
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