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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2019 Jul-Aug;30(4):985-988. doi: 10.4103/1319-2442.265480.

Cramps during Hemodialysis: Are They Always Innocent?

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Hemodialysis Unit Kyanos Stavros, Patras, Greece.
Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospital of Patras, Patras, Greece.
Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Patras, Patras, Greece.
Division of Nephrology, Ageing Biology Unit, Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Cramps are very common in hemodialysis (HD) patients. A high ultrafiltration rate and volume contraction have been implicated in the pathogenesis, but the underlying mechanism is not yet fully elucidated. We present a male HD patient with cramps during his session, attributed to acute limb ischemia due to thrombosis of a common femoral artery aneurysm (CFAA). The true CFAAs are extremely rare, but the pseudoaneurysms (or false aneurysms) are less uncommon resulting after femoral catheterization for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This aneurysm was eccentric in shape which in conjunction with the patient's history of femoral catheterization strongly suggests us to consider it a pseudoaneurysm. Although the patient was operated with the clinical suspicion of arterial embolism due to atrial fibrillation and the subtherapeutic anticoagulation, no embolus was found in the aneurysm. We want to emphasize that the presence of cramps is not always innocent, simply attributed to HD. Rarely, it may result from or mask severe and devastating acute leg ischemia caused by thrombosis of a CFAA. Notably, the thrombosis of a CFAA (true or false) is an extremely rare condition. We suggest all the HD patients with a history of femoral cannulation to undergo a vascular ultrasound in the related femoral artery at least once, to manage and to prevent the complications.

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