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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2009 May;37(5):585-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2009.01.014. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

The persistent sciatic artery.

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Alysis Zorggroep, Location Rijnstate, Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, Wagnerlaan 55, 6815 AD Arnhem, The Netherlands.



A persistent sciatic artery (PSA) is a rare vascular anomaly with an estimated incidence of 0.03-0.06%. During early embryonic development, the sciatic artery usually disappears when the superficial femoral artery has developed properly. This study aimed to assess the clinical presentation and outcome of a PSA.


A systematic review of all cases of PSA published between 1964 and 2007 was performed.


In this review, 159 PSAs were described in 122 patients. The mean age at which the PSA was discovered was 57 years, and the incidence was equally distributed with regards to gender. The majority of PSAs was unilateral (70%) and of the complete type (79%). Ninety-one patients (80%) presented with symptoms including intermittent claudication, ischaemia, a pulsating mass or neurological symptoms. An aneurysm was found in 48%, a stenosis in 7%, an occlusion of the PSA in 9% and an occlusion of an artery distal to the PSA in 6% of the subjects. The treatment depended on the symptoms and classification of the PSA. In nine cases (8%), an amputation was required eventually.


The PSA is a rare anomaly with a high incidence of complications including aneurysm formation and ischaemia that may lead to amputation. Strategies for follow-up could not be deduced from the available literature.

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