Symmetric peripheral gangrene (SPG) affects peripheral tissues of critically ill patients and can have severe disfiguring and debilitating effects. It can occur in the setting of multiple conditions, and it is associated with the use of vasopressors. There are no evidence-based treatments available for patients who develop SPG. Botulinum toxin has emerged as a potential therapy in vasospastic disorders, and we hypothesized that it may be used in the treatment of tissue ischemia in critically ill patients on vasopressors. We present a case of a patient who developed vasopressor-associated SPG and who experienced complete resolution after local injection with botulinum toxin. While the action of botulinum toxin on skeletal muscle is best understood, it has also been demonstrated to attenuate the release of multiple vasoconstrictive factors that impact vascular smooth muscle and modulate calcium and nitric oxide. These effects may result in vasodilation and improvement of cutaneous ischemia when injected locally. Clinicians may consider this local therapy in the treatment of vasopressor-associated symmetric peripheral gangrene.
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