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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 1997 May;13(5):432-8.

Ruptured popliteal artery aneurysm. An insidious complication.

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Department of Surgery, University Hospital Leiden, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the incidence and clinical presentation of ruptured popliteal aneurysms.


The records of 89 consecutive patients, all males, seen between 1958 and 1995 with 124 arteriosclerotic popliteal aneurysms were reviewed retrospectively. Most aneurysms were symptomatic (69/124; 55.6%). In six cases (6/124; 4.8%) a rupture was present.


There was a wide range in primary diagnosis varying from deep venous thrombosis to peroneal nerve palsy. In all cases primary reconstructive surgery was performed. No primary or secondary amputations were necessary. Surgical outcome was good in four cases. In the remaining cases one patient suffered from a permanent peroneal nerve palsy and one from non-disabling claudication. Review of the literature showed a rupture incidence of 2.5% (range 0-16%) and amputation rates as high as 100%.


An acute rupture of a popliteal aneurysm is rare. Although the clinical presentation can be non-specific, this possibility must be especially taken into account when dealing with older male patients presenting with signs and symptoms of generalised atherosclerosis and non-specific pain in the popliteal region.

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