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Femoral Artery Pseudoaneurysm and Sudden Death


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Roger W. Byard, M.D.
Discipline of Pathology
Level 3 Medical School North Building
The University of Adelaide
Frome Road
SA 5005


Abstract:  Pseudoaneurysm formation may be a late complication of vascular grafting. A case of sudden death in an 83-year-old woman with a previous aortobifemoral bypass graft is reported that was due to spontaneous hemorrhage from a pseudoaneurysm of the graft site that had eroded through the overlying skin and subcutaneous tissues. Pseudoaneuryms do not have to be of a particularly large size for rupture to occur. Social isolation and age-related cognitive impairment may delay treatment in older individuals resulting in a lethal outcome. The elderly are also more vulnerable to serious morbidity and death under these circumstances owing to significant underlying cardiovascular and respiratory disease and/or anticoagulant medication. Rarer conditions that may cause pseudoaneurysms include tumors and vasculidites. The possibility of an infectious contribution to the pseudoaneurysm should be considered and microbiological sampling undertaken.

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