Brachial artery pseudoaneurysm: a rare but serious complication in hemodialysis patients with arteriovenous fistula

Abstract

A pseudoaneurysm or false aneurysm of the brachial artery is an uncommon occurrence in patients receiving hemodialysis with arteriovenous fistula (AVF).
We describe the case of a 76-year-old woman presenting with a large, tender, pulsatile mass in the right antecubital region 10 cm from the AVF. B-mode ultrasound examination revealed a saccular hematoma. Color doppler showed a recirculation movement of blood, creating a two colors image called “Korean flag”. The patient was transferred to the surgical unit where she first underwent ultrasound-guided compression and then surgical repair of the pseudoaneurysm. Two weeks after surgery the AVF was used again as an access for hemodialysis.
Differentiating between a false and a true aneurysm based on ultrasound is not always straightforward. Doppler ultrasound findings can be decisive for the early diagnosis of a pseudoaneurysm to ensure proper treatment planning given the dangerous complications of ruptures. Treatment options include: compression, percutaneous thrombin injection, endovascular exclusion with covered stents, aneurysmectomy and surgical repair.

KEYWORDS: Pseudoaneurysm, Brachial artery, Doppler ultrasound, Arteriovenous fistula.

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