Ruptured Pseudoaneurysm Complicating an Infected Radial Artery Catheter: Case Report and Review of the Literature

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The authors present the 16th case of a pseudoaneurysm forming at the site of an infected radial artery catheter and only the third case that presented with rupture and hemorrhage requiring emergent operative repair. Radial artery catheters are quite safe, and most infections can be treated effectively with line removal and intravenous antibiotics. However, two factors correlate strongly with the subsequent development of pseudoaneurysms. Infection with Staphylococcus aureus was seen in 15 of 16 cases, and persistent signs of infection lasting more than 48 hours after the institution of antibiotic therapy and line removal were seen in 16 of 16 cases. Therefore, patients with S. aureus radial artery line infections with persistence of infection more than 48 hours after the induction of treatment are at high risk and should be observed closely for signs of pseudoaneurysm formation. Once a pseudoaneurysm has formed, surgical repair is required. Most recommend ligating the artery if there is pulsatile backbleeding from the distal stump and Allen’s test shows good perfusion of the hand by the ulnar artery.

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