August 1957

Subcutaneous Rupture of a Popliteal Aneurysm, with a Diagnostic Roentgen Sign

Author Affiliations

Staten Island; New York

From the Medical Service of the Staten Island Hospital and the Surgical Division of the Montefiore Hospital, New York.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;100(2):314-318. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260080140028

Aneurysms of the popliteal artery are quite common in this category of vascular lesions, occurring second in frequency only to aortic aneurysms. Despite the superficial location of the involved vessel, the diagnosis of a popliteal aneurysm may frequently be overlooked, even at the time of rupture. Rupture of a popliteal aneurysm represents a grave surgical emergency and usually heralds gangrene of the extremity. It is the purpose of this paper to describe an unusual course of a ruptured popliteal aneurysm, characterized by hematomatous dissection in the subcutaneous tissue. Extensive bluish discoloration of the skin with swelling led initially to an erroneous diagnosis of phlegmasia cerulea dolens. The correct diagnosis was finally established one month after the time of rupture, just prior to successful surgical intervention. During this time viability of the foot of the involved extremity was satisfactory. In addition, a diagnostic sign pathognomonic of a ruptured popliteal artery was

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