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Pseudoaneurysm Evaluation and Treatment

A pseudoaneurysm, also known as a false aneurysm, is a leakage of arterial blood from an artery into the surrounding tissue with a continuing communication between the originating artery and the resultant adjacent cavity. Some pseudoaneurysms resolve themselves, though others require treatment to prevent hemorrhage, an uncontrolled leak or other complications.

Penetrating trauma

A gunshot wound, stabbing, or bomb blast can disrupt the arterial wall and allow blood to leak into the surrounding tissue, forming a pseudoaneurysm.

Blunt trauma

A kick to the shin or even a bad ankle sprain can damage the wall of an artery enough to create a pseudoaneurysm.

Endovascular procedure

A pseudoaneurysm may be a complication of cardiac catheterization, a procedure in which a catheter is inserted in an artery in your groin (femoral artery) and is threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. Cardiac catheterization is used to capture images of your heart to diagnose heart disease and to treat certain types of heart disease. A pseudoaneurysm can occur if blood leaks and pools outside your femoral artery where it was punctured so the catheter could be inserted.

A patient who presents with a history of trauma or endovascular procedure and has a painful, pulsatile, tender mass at the site of catheterization or trauma should be suspected to have a pseudoaneurysm. The diagnosis should be confirmed using Duplex ultrasonography, which will reveal arterial blood flow into the pseudoaneurysm.