Purpose: Since its introduction in 1991, ultrasound guided compression repair of postcatheterization femoral artery pseudoaneurysms has been shown to be effective. Disadvantages of ultrasound guided compression repair include patient discomfort during compression, inability to treat noncompressible pseudoaneurysms, prolonged use of ultrasound equipment and personnel, limited success with patients being treated with anticoagulants, and some early recurrences. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate a new method of treating femoral pseudoaneurysms, percutaneous ultrasound guided thrombin injection.
Methods: Under duplex ultrasound guidance, a 22- or 25-gauge needle was percutaneously positioned within the pseudoaneurysm. Without compressing the pseudoaneurysm, 0.5 to 1 ml thrombin solution (1000 U/ml) was injected to induce thrombosis. Early in the study, the procedure was modified to allow more than one injection. After successful thrombosis, the patients were kept at rest in bed for at least 1 hour. Duplex ultrasound examination was repeated in 1 to 4 days. Distal pulses and ankle-brachial indexes were measured before and after the procedure.
Results: Twenty of 21 consecutive pseudoaneurysms were successfully treated with thrombin injection. Fifteen pseudoaneurysms thrombosed immediately (<20 seconds) after one injection. The other five had partial thrombosis after one injection and complete thrombosis immediately after a second injection. The one failure occurred in a patient who had only one injection and then underwent subsequent ultrasound guided compression repair, which failed. No patient required sedation or analgesia during thrombin injection. There were no procedure-related complications and no recurrences.
Conclusions: Percutaneous ultrasound guided thrombin injection appears to be a safe and expeditious method for treating postcatheterization femoral pseudoaneurysms. It has significant advantages with respect to ultrasound guided compression repair or surgical repair.