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A pseudoaneurysm,

or false aneurysm, is swelling of the wall of the artery. The swelling is caused by a small hole that has not sealed. A pseudoaneurysm can happen in any artery. It may become a medical emergency because the pseudoaneurysm can rupture.

Call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain.
  • You have any bleeding in the pseudoaneurysm area.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have shortness of breath.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You have swelling or pain near the artery site.
  • You have numbness or pain in your arm or leg.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have sudden or more pain in your groin.
  • Your skin over the pseudoaneurysm is cool to the touch, pale, or changes color.
  • You have tingling or numbness near the pseudoaneurysm site.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


Your healthcare provider will use an ultrasound to check the artery for leaking blood. A small pseudoaneurysm may close on its own in about 4 weeks. You may need any of the following to treat a pseudoaneurysm that does not close:

  • Debridement is a procedure used to remove dead tissue. You may need this if the area around your pseudoaneurysm becomes infected.
  • Compression is a procedure that may be used if the pseudoaneurysm is in your leg. Your healthcare provider will place a device over the pseudoaneurysm and apply pressure. He may hold the pressure for 10 to 15 minutes. You may need to have this procedure a few times.
  • Medicine called thrombin may be injected into the sac to help seal the leak. You may need an arterial duplex scan 24 hours after the injection. Your healthcare provider will check to make sure the leak is sealed and that there is no damage from the injection.
  • Surgery may be used to repair the leak. Your healthcare provider may stitch the artery leak closed, or he may place a patch to seal it. He may need to bypass the artery (direct blood so it does not flow into the artery).
  • Medicines may be given to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol level.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage or prevent a pseudoaneurysm:

  • Limit activity if the pseudoaneurysm has not ruptured. Your healthcare provider may want to monitor the pseudoaneurysm for up to 4 weeks to see if it closes. He may tell you to limit your activity to lower your risk for rupture.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause blood vessel and lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk that the pseudoaneurysm will burst. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you limit the amount of sodium (salt) you have every day. You may also need to take your blood pressure and keep a record of the numbers. You may also need to take medicine to control your blood pressure.

  • Reach or maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight increases your risk for a pseudoaneurysm. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. He can help you create a healthy weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Alcohol and illegal drugs such as cocaine can increase your blood pressure. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, beans, lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy products. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you create a meal plan to help control high blood pressure or cholesterol. You may also need to limit sodium (salt).
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise can help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need each day and which exercises are best for you.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.