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April 1966

The Hazards of Popliteal Aneurysms

Arch Surg. 1966;92(4):504-507. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01320220060009

SURGEONS have for many years warned against the dangers of the popliteal aneurysm, including those which are small or asymptomatic. Thrombosis, distal embolization of clots, and rupture may lead to the sudden development of painful ischemia or gangrene of the limb. Gifford et al1 found that only five of 21 asymptomatic untreated popliteal aneurysms followed for five years or more remained free of complications. Ten patients required amputation. In this regard the popliteal aneurysm may be likened to its infrarenal abdominal aortic counterpart which most physicians now recognize as prone to rupture. However, many physicians fail to regard the popliteal variant in the same light. Further, the thrombosed or ruptured nonpulsating popliteal aneurysm may be misdiagnosed and operated on by one unfamiliar with the management of vascular lesions. This error occurred in two of the patients in the group to be reported.

This study concerns a group of 20