Purpose: Aneurysms of the visceral arteries are infrequently encountered. Many are found incidentally and are thought to have a benign outcome. To better characterize these lesions and their clinical course, we reviewed our experience with visceral artery aneurysms (VAAs) at a single institution.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of all VAAs diagnosed at our institution over the past 10 years was performed. The presentation, management, and outcome of therapy was examined for each patient.
Results: Thirty-four VAAs in 26 patients were diagnosed over the past 10 years. Four patients had multiple VAAs: splenic (17), hepatic (7), celiac (3), superior mesenteric (2), gastroduodenal (2), pancreaticoduodenal (1), right gastric (1), ileal (1) artery aneurysms. Associated aneurysms were found in 31% of patients and involved the thoracic aorta (3 patients), abdominal aorta (4 patients), renal arteries (2 patients), iliac artery (3 patients), lower extremity (1 patient), and intracranium (1 patient). In 15 patients (58%), VAAs were detected before rupture by chance or because abdominal symptoms resulted in diagnostic evaluation. Eight of these underwent elective surgery, and there were no deaths. Of those 15 patients with known VAAs, one patient died of rupture and hemorrhage from an untreated splenic artery aneurysm. Eleven patients (42%) presented unexpectedly with rupture, and two died despite prompt surgical treatment. The mortality rate in patients who had ruptured VAAs was 25%, including those who presented with ruptured aneurysms and those observed whose aneurysms eventually ruptured.
Conclusions: Aneurysms of the visceral arteries are rare but important vascular lesions. Associated aneurysms are common. Because of the risk of rupture, often with a fatal outcome, an aggressive approach to the treatment of VAA is essential.