Purpose: Local compression has been advocated for the treatment of femoral artery pseudoaneurysms. Although it is effective and has a high success rate, this method bears some limitations; among them are prolonged procedure time, discomfort for patients, and recurrence. As a potent thrombosis-inducing agent, thrombin has been used topically, and occasionally intravascularly, for hemostasis. Pseudoaneurysms with a narrow connecting tract to the native artery may be suitable for treatment with thrombin injection to induce intracavitary coagulation.
Methods: Patients with pseudoaneurysms of the femoral artery were evaluated by ultrasonography. Under ultrasound guidance, an intravenous catheter was introduced percutaneously into the pseudoaneurysm, with the catheter position confirmed by contrast ultrasonography. One thousand units of thrombin dissolved in normal saline solution was then injected slowly into the pseudoaneurysm through the catheter to induce thrombosis. The patients were monitored closely for any adverse effects after thrombin injection.
Results: A total of five patients with femoral artery pseudoaneurysms were treated with direct percutaneous thrombin injection under ultrasound guidance. Within seconds of thrombin injection thrombus formation was evident, and blood flow in the pseudoaneurysm soon ceased when the thrombosis extended to the connecting tract. All procedures were uneventful and successful. No recurrence was noted during follow-up periods of 1 to 28 months.
Conclusion: Our initial experience with the small number of patients demonstrates the simplicity, lack of morbidity, and high success rate for ultrasound-guided percutaneous thrombin injection for the treatment of femoral artery pseudoaneurysms.