Rasmussen aneurysm

Rasmussen aneurysm (not to be confused with Rasmussen encephalitis) is an uncommon complication of pulmonary tuberculosis and represents a pulmonary artery aneurysm adjacent or within a tuberculous cavity. 

It can be present in up to 5% of patients with chronic cavitary tuberculosis on autopsy. 

Haemoptysis is the usual presenting symptom and may be life-threatening when it is massive. 

A weakening of the pulmonary artery wall from adjacent cavitary tuberculosis is the cause of this condition: there is a progressive weakening of the arterial wall as granulation tissue replaces both the adventitia and the media. This is then gradually replaced by fibrin, resulting in thinning of the arterial wall, pseudoaneurysm formation, and subsequent rupture with haemorrhage. 

Location

Usually distributed peripherally and beyond the branches of main pulmonary arteries 2.

CT

Often seen on contrasted chest images as a focal dilatation of one of pulmonary segmentary arteries adjacent to tuberculous parenchymal change or chronic tuberculous cavity.

It is named after Fritz Valdemar Rasmussen: Danish physician ( 1837-1877).

It is almost pathognomonic if present in the right clinical content and in the vicinity of a tuberculous cavity. 

In atypical cases consider:

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Article information

rID: 9839
Systems: Chest, Vascular
Tags: cases, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Rasmussen's aneurysm
  • Rasmussen aneurysms
  • Rasmussen's aneurysms

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