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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Case Report of Ruptured Popliteal Aneurysm in the Setting of Blunt Trauma


Introduction: Popliteal artery aneurysms are in most cases asymptomatic but cause significant complications if ruptured. An acute popliteal aneurysm rupture is relatively rare, and few cases have been documented secondary to blunt trauma. Common presenting signs and symptoms include distal limb ischemia and absent dorsalis pedis pulses. Timely management and recognition of this rare presentation are crucial as this condition can result in limb loss or death if not treated in a timely manner.

Case Report: An 80-year-old man with history of hypertension presented to the emergency department complaining of inability to feel sensation below his left knee after falling from ground level. Physical examination was pertinent for bounding radial and femoral pulses bilaterally, although absent dorsalis pedis and posterior tibial pulses to the left lower extremity. Computed tomography angiography identified occlusion of the left superficial femoral arterial lumen associated with a ruptured popliteal aneurysm, approximately eight centimeters in size. He immediately received unfractionated heparin and was admitted to the hospital for left medial thigh exploration and decompressive dermatofasciotomy.

Conclusion: After confirmation of popliteal aneurysmal rupture with advanced imaging, heparinization and vascular surgery consultation are critical steps that should be taken to prevent limb loss.

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