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Jornal Vascular Brasileiro

versão impressa ISSN 1677-5449

J. vasc. bras. vol.12 no.2 Porto Alegre jun. 2013 

Case Reports

Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic para-anastomotic pseudoaneurysm

Leonardo Ghizoni Bez1  2 

Francesco Evangelista Botelho1 

Júlio César Arantes Maciel1 

Danilo Martins Cardinelli1 

1Hospital do Instituto de Previdência dos Servidores do Estado de Minas Gerais – IPSEMG, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

2Hospital Felício Rocho, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil


Para-anastomotic aneurysms are either true aneurysms or pseudoaneurysms. The latter tend to be asymptomatic until rupture. Para-anastomotic aneurysms should be approached surgically, despite the high morbidity and mortality associated with their treatment. This report describes the case of a 68-year-old woman who presented with a para-anastomotic pseudoaneurysm secondary to infrarenal aortic aneurysmectomy. We chose to use an endovascular approach, and results were good. Endovascular techniques are increasingly becoming the method of choice in the treatment of anastomotic pseudoaneurysms.

Key words: pseudoaneurysm; aorta; postoperative complications; aortic aneurysm; endovascular procedures


Para-anastomotic aneurysms may be either true aneurysms or pseudoaneurysms. Its incidence reaches 10% eight to nine years after aneurysmectomy. Pseudoaneurysms tend to be asymptomatic until rupture. They may occur at any time after operation, but its incidence increases with follow-up time. They should be treated surgically even when asymptomatic, because mortality reaches 61% in the case of conservative treatment. However, open reoperation is technically difficult, and its morbidity and mortality rates are high.


This study describes the case of a 68-year-old woman with hypertension and depression under control, who denied smoking or diabetes. Previous surgeries: appendectomy, perineoplasty, cystopexy, hysterectomy, varicectomy, knee arthroplasty and surgical repair of abdominal aorta aneurysm. Eight years earlier she had undergone infrarenal aortic aneurysmectomy and aortoaortic bypass using a 14-mm Dacron graft. Immediate postoperative recovery was good.

A year and a half after the procedure, a CT angiogram (angio-CT) showed no evidence of abnormalities (Figure 1), and an arterial duplex scan of the lower limbs to investigate popliteal artery aneurysm did not show any changes.

Figura 1 Angiotomografia - prótese de Dácron com anastomose aortoaórtica infrarrenal sem pseudoaneurisma - perceber presença de colo infrarrenal. 

Four years after operation, angio-CT showed Dacron graft dilatation (25 mm diameter), without pseudoaneurysm or leaking. Changes remained stable in the sixth year, and the patient remained asymptomatic.

Eight years after operation she had sporadic abdominal cramps. Ultrasound (US) scanning revealed the presence of biliary sludge, and angio-CT showed a distal thrombosed para-anastomotic pseudoaneurysm measuring 6.0 × 5.0 cm (Figures 2 and 3). An endovascular approach under general anesthesia was selected, and the procedure consisted of dissection of femoral arteries bilaterally, implant of bifurcated steel and Dacron graft (body of graft measuring 26 mm × 82 mm) and extending to the distal third of the common iliac arteries, with a diameter of 12 mm (Figure 4). Postoperative progression was good and she was discharged on the second day after operation. She remains under outpatient follow-up, with no complaints and asymptomatic three years after operation.

Figura 2 Angiotomografia: Plano sagital com pseudoaneu risma trombosado de 65 mm em anastomose distal. 

Figura 3 Angiotomografia: Plano axial demonstrando pseu doaneurisma de 52 mm em anastomose distal. 

Figura 4 Angiotomografia após correção endovascular. 


Of all the complications of aortoiliac bypass grafts, anastomotic pseudoaneurysm is the most common late complication. The following complications may be listed: pseudoaneurysm (3%), thrombosis (2%), enteric erosion/fistula (1.6%), graft infection (1.3%), anastomotic hemorrhage (1.3%), colon ischemia (0.7%) and atheroembolism (0.3%)1. They occur at a mean 10 to 12 years after operation, affect the distal anastomosis primarily2, and are asymptomatic until rupture, with a tragic outcome for the patient and the medical team.

The continuous degeneration of the artery wall after graft implantation may weaken the suture between the artery and the prosthesis along the years, which may give origin to the pseudoaneurysm.

Szilagyi reported the occurrence of anastomotic aneurysms in 0.2% of the aortic anastomosis, 1.2% of the iliac anastomosis, and in 3% of the femoral anastomosis three years after operation3. Edwards reported and incidence of 1% of anastomotic pseudoaneurysm eight years after operation, and 20% 15 years later, with detection at a mean 12 years after operation4 .

Imaging follow-up (angio-CT and MRA) for three to five years after operation is recommended to detect new aneurysms or pseudoaneurysms under formation, and therefore avoid rupture5.

Open reoperation is technically difficult because of adhesions and fibrosis, and its mortality rate is 5% to 17% when elective, and 24% to 88% when there is rupture6. Endovascular repair has a mortality rate of about 3.8%7.

The endovascular approach has gained importance, with successful results in several case series6 - 10. It reduces morbidity and mortality, particularly in high-risk surgical patients. Its initial technical success is about 98% at the time of implantation, and it reduces perioperative mortality to about 3.8%7 , 9 . Despite the complications associated with endoprostheses, such as endoleaks (type II are the most common), thrombosis, migration, rupture, structural failures and infections, short- and long-term follow-up shows lower complication rates than open surgery. This suggests that the endovascular approach may definitely become the method of choice for the treatment of anastomotic pseudoaneurysms6 - 9.

In the case reported here, the patient underwent follow-up using imaging tests every two years, and a pseudoaneurysm of the distal aortic anastomosis was detected eight years later. The patient had discrete abdominal pain that radiated to the dorsal region. Abdominal ultrasound detected gallstone, and the hypothesis of pain of biliary origin was raised.

Radiological follow-up showed an increase in the diameter of the pseudoaneurysm, and the endovascular repair was chosen. Abdominal pain resolved completely and the abdominal mass regressed. After three years of follow-up, the patient remains asymptomatic and imaging control has not detected any changes to this moment.


The chance of developing a para-anastomotic aneurysm or pseudoaneurysm increases and may reach 20% 15 years after operation, which increases the chances of rupture significantly. Most cases have an asymptomatic progression until rupture, and the outcome is tragic.

Para-anastomotic aneurysms are the most common late complication of the conventional repair of abdominal aorta aneurysm. Adhesions and inflammation caused by the aneurysm and by the previous surgery may complicate surgical access for the correction of this complication, and morbidity and mortality rates are high.

An interesting option, which has shown good short- and middle-term results, as long as the patient's anatomy is favorable, is the endovascular approach, which reduces morbidity and mortality when reoperating this type of late complication of aortic repair.


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10. Piffaretti G, Tozzi M, Lomazzi C, Rivolta N, Caronno R, Castelli P. Endovascular treatment for para-anastomotic abdominal aortic and iliac aneurysms following aortic surgery. J Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 Dec;48(6):711-7. [ Links ]

Financial support: None

* All authors should have read and approved of the final version of the article submitted to J Vasc Bras.

Received: February 16, 2013; Accepted: February 28, 2013

Correspondence Leonardo Ghizoni Bez Rua dos Otoni, 909 - sala 2002 - Santa Efigênia CEP 30150-270 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil Email:

Conflicts of interest: No conflicts of interest declared concerning the publication of this article.

LGB is a vascular surgeon at Hospital Felício Rocho and head of the Vascular Surgery Service at Hospital do Instituto de Previdência dos Servidores do Estado de Minas Gerais (IPSEMG). Member, SBACV. FEB is head of the Vascular Surgery Residency Program at Hospital do Instituto de Previdência dos Servidores do Estado de Minas Gerais (IPSEMG). JCAM and DMC are resident physicians in Vascular Surgery at Hospital do Instituto de Previdência dos Servidores do Estado de Minas Gerais (IPSEMG).

Conception and design: LGB

Analysis and interpretation: LGB

Data collection: LGB, JCAM, DMC

Writing the article: JCAM, DMC

Critical revision of the article: LGB, FEB

Final approval of the article*: LGB, FEB

Statistical analysis: N/A

Overall responsibility: LGB

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