Nonoperative Management and Novel Imaging for Posterior Circumflex Humeral Artery Injury in Volleyball

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Abstract

We report on a 34-yr-old male elite volleyball player with symptomatic emboli in the spiking hand from a partially thrombosed aneurysm of the posterior circumflex humeral artery (PCHA) in his dominant shoulder. At initial diagnosis and follow-up, a combination of time-resolved and high-resolution steady state contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) enabled detailed visualization of: (1) emboli that were not detectable by vascular ultrasound; and (2) the PCHA aneurysm, including compression during abduction and external rotation (ABER provocation). At 15-month follow-up, including forced cessation of volleyball activities over the preceding 9 months, the PCHA aneurysm remained unchanged. Central filling defects in the palmar arch and digital arteries resolved over time and affected arterial vessel segments showed postthrombotic changes. Digital blood pressure values improved substantially and almost normalized during follow-up. In conclusion, this case report is the first to show promising results of nonoperative management for a vascular shoulder overuse injury in a professional volleyball player as an alternative to invasive therapeutic options.

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