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Z Gastroenterol. 2012 May;50(5):449-52. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1282012. Epub 2012 May 11.

[CEUS as a tool to uncover an unusual cause of obstructive jaundice].

[Article in German]

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Medizinische Klinik I, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig Holstein, Lübeck.


Aneurysms within the visceral arteries are rare. Among these, aneurysms of the splenic artery occur most frequently followed by aneurysms of the hepatic arteries. An early diagnosis is easily missed and almost all patients become symptomatic with an acute rupture associated with high mortality. Here we demonstrate the case of a 76-year-old patient who presented with acute upper abdominal pain accompanied by a single episode of vomiting and pyrexia of 39 °C. Laboratory results presented the picture of an obstructive jaundice without evidence for accompanying pancreatitis. Inflammatory markers were within normal limits at onset, but increased dramatically within the next few days. An acute calculous cholecystitis was diagnosed on abdominal ultrasound whereas gastroscopy revealed no relevant changes. Computed tomography was suspicious for pancreatitis of the head with obstruction of the bile duct. Choledocholithiasis was ruled out by ERCP, but symptoms persisted despite papillotomy. Due to raising inflammatory markers and an ongoing impairment of the patients condition, an abdominal CT scan was repeated which revealed the suspicion of a ruptured aneurysm of the common hepatic artery. At the time of transferral we were able to confirm the diagnosis by contrast-enhanced ultrasound and angiography. The patient was immediately forwarded to surgery due to lack of satisfactory endovascular procedures. In summary, the patient suffered from a ruptured spurial aneurysm of the right gastric artery thereby obstructing the common bile duct. Beside CT scans and angiography, this case documents a pivotal role for contrast-enhanced ultrasound in the work-up of visceral artery aneurysms.

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