Objective: To review the authors' recent experience and that of the literature since 1973 and to provide management guidelines for true aneurysms of the pancreaticoduodenal arteries (PDA).
Summary background data: True aneurysms of the PDA are rare, with a total of only 52 cases reported since 1973.
Methods: Six patients were admitted to the authors' institution between 1985 and 1995 for rupture of a true aneurysm of the PDA. They were analyzed with regard to the mode of presentation, preoperative workup, management, and outcome.
Results: All patients had severe epigastric pain from retroperitoneal hemorrhage. Computed tomography scanning and angiography were performed in all cases. Aneurysms ranged from 0.7 to 1.2 cm (median 0.9 cm). The celiac axis was stenotic or occluded in five cases. Three patients underwent emergency pancreatoduodenectomy. Two of them survived. In one case, section of the median arcuate ligament was associated with the procedure, and the patient died from an aortic dissection. Embolization was performed in the last three patients. The procedure was definitive in two cases. In one, hemorrhage recurred 8 days later and required surgical ligation of the bleeding artery.
Conclusions: The authors recommend rapid treatment of all true aneurysms of the PDA. Because most of these aneurysms result from a stenosis of the celiac axis, selective embolization may help to preserve patency of the PDA and should, therefore, be the primary therapeutic choice in ruptured aneurysms. Close follow-up is mandatory because of possible recurrent bleeding. Appropriate and expeditious management of true PDA aneurysms should help reduce the mortality rate.