Introduction: Rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysms (RAAA) can take place in one of the 4 following ways: 1. "Open" rupture in the free peritoneal cavity; 2. "Closed" rupture with formation of retroperitoneal haematoma; 3. Rupture into surrounding cavity structures, such as veins and bowels; 4. In rare cases rupture is effectively "sealed of" by the surrounding tissue reaction, and retroperitoneal haematoma is "chronically" contained . The terms "sealed" , "spontaneously healed" , "leakig"  RAAA, were also used in the previous papers connected to this situation. The "sealed" rupture was first described by Szilagyi and associates in 1961 . In their case the rupture was small and haemorrhage was effectively encircled by the tissue surrounding the aortic wall. The slow rate of blood loss contributed to the patient's haemodinamically stable condition. Christenson et al. reported a case of "spontaneously healed" RAAA . Rosenthal and associates described 2 patients who had aortic aneuryms that ruptured several months before repair and contributed to the term "leaking AAA" , while Jones et al. introduced the term "chronic contained rupture" . The aim of this paper is the presentation of 5 such patients.
Case report: Between December 1, 1988 and May 30, 1997 411 patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) have been operated at our institute. Of this number 137 (33%) had RAAA, while 5 patients (12%) had a contained RAAA (CRAAA). CRAAA were found in 3 male and two female patients, average age 62 years. All of them had a previously proved AAA and initial symptoms lasted for days or months before the admission. In all patients haematocrit, pulse rate and arterial tension during the admission, were normal. All typical signs of RAAA were absent in these patients. Patient 1. A 56-year-old man, smoker, with previous history of arterial hypertension had an isolated episode of abdominal pain and collapse 30 days before the admission. Physical examination revealed a pulsatile abdominal mass. Doppler ultrasonography identified an infrarenal AAA, with right lobular extraaneurysmal mass which displaced the inferior vena cava (ICV). Angiographically (Figure 1a) an unusual saccular intrarenal AAA was detected, while simultaneous cavography (Figure 1b) confirmed the-dislocated inferior vena cava to the right. The intraoperative finding showed infrarenal CRAAA with organized retroperitoneal haematoma between AAA, ICV and duodenum. After aortic cross clamping and aneurysmal opening, the rupture at the right posterior aneurysmal wall was discovered. The partial aneurysmactomy and aortobilliar bypass procedure with bifurcated knitted Dacron graft (16 x 8 mm), were performed. The patient recovered very well. After a 4-year follow-up period the graft is still patent. Patient 2. A 72-year-old woman with low back pain, fever and disuric problems was urgently admitted to the Institute of Urology and Nephrology. The standard urological examination (X-ray, intravenous pyelography, retrograde urography, kidney Duplex ultrasonography) excluded urological diseases. However, intrarenal AAA an a giant aneurysm of the right common iliac artery, were found. The proximal dilatation of the right excretory urinary system was also found by retrograde urography. The patient was transported to our Institute 20 days after the initial symptoms. Translumbar aortography (Figure 3) showed the right common iliac artery aneurysm and gave the false negative picture of normal abdominal aorta because of parietal thrombosis of AAA. The intraoperative finding showed chronic rupture of the posterior wall of the right common artery aneurysm. The retroperitoneal haematoma compressed the right ureter. Both aneurysm have been resected and replaced by bifurcated Dacron graft (16 x 8 mm). The patient recovered successfully. After a 2-year period of follow-up the graft is still patent. Patient 3. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)