Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Thromboangiitis Obliterans Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Naiem Nassiri, MD; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
Updated: Nov 19, 2015

Diagnostic Considerations

In addition to the conditions listed in the differential diagnosis, other problems to be considered include the following:

  • Acrocyanosis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Ergotism
  • Livedo reticularis
  • Trauma
  • CREST (calcinosis cutis, Raynaud phenomenon, esophageal motility disorder, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia) syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid vasculitis
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Wegener granulomatosis
  • Mixed connective-tissue disease
  • Antiphospholipid-antibody syndrome
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia with atherosclerosis
  • Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome
  • Repetitive vibratory equipment use
  • Hypothenar hammer syndrome

Differential Diagnoses

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Naiem Nassiri, MD RPVI, Instructor in Vascular Surgery, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Founder and Director, Vascular Anomalies and Malformations Program, Vascular Center of New Jersey and Bristol Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital Center for Advanced Surgery

Naiem Nassiri, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, Society for Vascular Surgery, American Venous Forum, Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD Professor of Surgery, Program Director, Vascular Surgery Residency, Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Heart Association, Society for Vascular Surgery, Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society, Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, Pacific Coast Surgical Association, Western Vascular Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Matthew Carpenter, MD Program Director, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Keesler Medical Center; Assistant Clinical Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, F Edward Hebert School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

E Jerry Cohn Jr, MD, FACS Vascular Surgeon, The Vein Center at Savannah Vascular Institute

E Jerry Cohn Jr, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Eric J Hanly, MD Fellow, Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Eric J Hanly, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons of the US, MedChi, Phi Beta Kappa, and Society of USAF Flight Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Ozanan R Meireles, MD Instructor in Surgery, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Ozanan R Meireles, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Brian D Peyton, MD Chief of Vascular and General Surgery, Keesler Medical Center; Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Associate Program Director, Department of General Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, F Edward Hebert School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

  1. von Winiwarter F. Ueber eine eigenthumliche Form von Endarteriitis und Endophlebitis mit Gangran des Fusses. Arch Klin Chir. 1879. 23:202-26.

  2. Buerger L. Thrombo-angiitis obliterans: a study of the vascular lesions leading to presenile spontaneous gangrene. Am J Med Sci. 1908. 136:567-80.

  3. Espinoza LR. Buerger's disease: thromboangiitis obliterans 100 years after the initial description. Am J Med Sci. 2009 Apr. 337(4):285-6. [Medline].

  4. Malecki R, Zdrojowy K, Adamiec R. Thromboangiitis obliterans in the 21st century-A new face of disease. Atherosclerosis. 2009 Feb 12. [Medline].

  5. Salimi J, Tavakkoli H, Salimzadeh A, Ghadimi H, Habibi G, Masoumi AA. Clinical characteristics of Buerger's disease in Iran. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2008 Aug. 18(8):502-5. [Medline].

  6. 2014 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code I73.1. Available at Accessed: May 2, 2014.

  7. Abyshov NS, Zakirdzhaev EA, Aliev ZM. [Modern aspects of diagnostics and treatment for thromboangiitis obliterans]. Khirurgiia (Mosk). 2009. 75-9. [Medline].

  8. Olin JW, Young JR, Graor RA, Ruschhaupt WF, Bartholomew JR. The changing clinical spectrum of thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease). Circulation. 1990 Nov. 82(5 Suppl):IV3-8. [Medline].

  9. Motukuru V, Suresh KR, Vivekanand V, Raj S, Girija KR. Therapeutic angiogenesis in Buerger's disease (thromboangiitis obliterans) patients with critical limb ischemia by autologous transplantation of bone marrow mononuclear cells. J Vasc Surg. 2008 Dec. 48(6 Suppl):53S-60S; discussion 60S. [Medline].

  10. Kulkarni S, Kulkarni G, Shyam AK, Kulkarni M, Kulkarni R, Kulkarni V. Management of thromboangiitis obliterans using distraction osteogenesis: A retrospective study. Indian J Orthop. 2011 Sep. 45(5):459-64. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  11. Papa MZ, Rabi I, Adar R. A point scoring system for the clinical diagnosis of Buerger's disease. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 1996 Apr. 11(3):335-9. [Medline].

  12. Graziani L, Morelli L, Parini F, Franceschini L, Spano P, Calza S, et al. Clinical Outcome After Extended Endovascular Recanalization in Buerger's Disease in 20 Consecutive Cases. Ann Vasc Surg. 2012 Apr. 26(3):387-95. [Medline].

  13. Lawrence PF, Lund OI, Jimenez JC, Muttalib R. Substitution of smokeless tobacco for cigarettes in Buerger's disease does not prevent limb loss. J Vasc Surg. 2008 Jul. 48(1):210-2. [Medline].

  14. Melillo E, Grigoratos C, De Sanctis F, Spontoni P, Nuti M, Dell'Omodarme M, et al. Noninvasive Transcutaneous Monitoring in Long-Term Follow-Up of Patients With Thromboangiitis Obliterans Treated With Intravenous Iloprost. Angiology. 2014 Jul 8. [Medline].

  15. Tavakoli H, Salimi J, Rashidi A. Reply: "Treatment-of-choice for Buerger's disease (thromboangiitis obliterans): still an unresolved issue". Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Jun. 27(6):813. [Medline].

  16. Saito S, Nishikawa K, Obata H, Goto F. Autologous bone marrow transplantation and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with thromboangiitis obliterans. Angiology. 2007 Aug-Sep. 58(4):429-34. [Medline].

Feet of patient with thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger disease). Note ischemic ulcers on distal portion of left great, second, and fifth toes. Although patient's right foot is normal in gross appearance, angiography demonstrated compromised arterial flow to both feet.
Superficial thrombophlebitis of great toe in patient with thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger disease).
Tobacco smoke stains on male patient's fingers suggest diagnosis of thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger disease). Patient presented with small, painful ulcers on tips of thumb and ring finger.
Lower-extremity arteriogram of peroneal and tibial arteries of patient with thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger disease) demonstrates classic findings of multiple small and medium-sized arterial occlusions with formation of compensatory "corkscrew collaterals."
Table 1. Scoring System for Diagnosis of Thromboangiitis Obliterans[11]
Positive Criterion Positive Points
Age at onset< 30 y (+2)

30-40 y (+1)

Foot intermittent claudicationPresent (+2)

By history only (+1)

Upper extremitySymptomatic (+2)

Asymptomatic (+1)

Migrating superficial thrombophlebitisPresent (+2)

By history only (+1)

Raynaud phenomenonPresent (+2)

By history only (+1)

Angiography; biopsyIf typical, both (+2)


Negative CriterionNegative Points
Age at onset45-50 y (−1)

>50 y (−2)

Sex; smokingFemale (−1)

Nonsmoker (−2)

LocationSingle limb (−1)

No lower extremity involved (−2)

Absent pulsesBrachial (−1)

Femoral (−2)

Arteriosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemiaDiscovered 5.1-10 y after diagnosis (−1)

Discovered 2.1-5 y later (−2)

Table 2. Numerical Scores Defining Probability of Diagnosis of Thromboangiitis Obliterans
No. of PointsProbability of Diagnosis of Thromboangiitis Obliterans
0-1Diagnosis excluded
2-3Diagnosis suspected (low probability)
4-5Diagnosis probable (medium probability)
≥6Diagnosis definite (high probability)
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.