Inferior epigastric artery pseudoaneurysms

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Inferior epigastric artery (IEA) pseudoaneurysms are recognised complications of abdominal wall procedures, and a variety of approaches including surgical excision and ligation, percutaneous procedures and conservative management have been employed in treating this rare complication.

METHODS

We describe a case of an IEA pseudoaneurysm diagnosed on computed tomography (CT) angiography, 14 days following a laparoscopic assisted low anterior resection, which was managed successfully with surgical excision and ligation. A review of the literature identified 32 reports of this complication since 1973 with 69% of cases occurring since 2000.

FINDINGS

The main aetiology of IEA pseudoaneurysm was abdominal surgery (n=20); 65% of cases were attributable to abdominal wound closure or laparoscopic surgery. Two-thirds (66%) of patients presented between 11 and 63 days, and all except 1 case presented with discomfort, abdominal mass or haemodynamic instability. Colour Doppler ultrasonography was the imaging modality of choice (n=18), either alone or in combination with computed tomography and/or angiography. Surgical ligation and excision and percutaneous coil embolisation formed the mainstay of attempted treatments (69%), particularly following treatment failure using an alternative technique.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of iatrogenic IEA pseudoaneurysms appears to be increasing. Awareness of this rare complication is of clinical importance to avoid excessive morbidity for affected individuals.

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