Compression ultrasonography for false femoral artery aneurysms: Hypocoagulability is a cause of failure
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OBJECTIVES: False femoral artery aneurysm is an occasional complication of percutaneous cardiovascular radiological procedures. Compression ultrasonography causes thrombosis non-invasively, reducing need for operative intervention. The technique fails in a proportion of cases. Analysis was undertaken to identify causes of failure. DESIGN: Prospective open study. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients presenting with false femoral artery aneurysm since 1984 were identified from a computerised database (BIPAS). Since 1993 compression ultrasonography has been performed as first line treatment according to a standard protocol. Prospectively collected ultrasonographic data and case notes were reviewed to identify causes of failed compression. RESULTS: False femoral artery aneurysm occurred as a complication in 32/26,687 (0.12%) cardiovascular radiological procedures. Eighteen aneurysms were treated by compression. The technique was successful in 11/18 (61%) cases but primary failure occurred in seven cases. Six out of seven had bleeding abnormalities (Chi-squared analysis with Yates correction 10.55, p = 0.0012), four were anticoagulated and compression was subsequently successful following reversal of warfarin therapy in three of these patients. In 4/18 cases surgical repair was necessary. CONCLUSION: Compression ultrasonography is an effective treatment of false femoral aneurysms, however, hypocoagulability is a significant cause of failure. For patients in whom anticoagulation cannot be reversed, primary surgical repair should be considered.
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