Visceral artery aneurysms

Visceral artery aneurysms (VAA) are abnormal focal dilatations of arteries supplying an organ in the abdomen. VAAs include both true and pseudoaneurysms.

With different clinical manifestations and a more characteristic pathology, the renal artery aneurysms are discussed separately. 

The reported incidence of VAA is approximately 0.01% to 2% in autopsy and angiographic studies 2 and more than a half are related to splenic artery aneurysms. Multiple aneurysms are present in approximately one third of patients 3. The proportion of aneurysm between visceral arteries are 1:

VAAs are usually degenerative and related to a deficiency of the arterial media with loss of elastic fibers and reduced smooth muscle. Other possible causes are atherosclerosis, fibromuscular dysplasia, collagen disorders, trauma, inflammation, infection, or vasculitis 1

Pancreatitis may promote destruction of the arterial wall resulting in pseudoaneurysms of related visceral arteries. 

Most patients are asymptomatic and these aneurysms are usually discovered incidentally. Less frequently they are associated with abdominal pain or could be palpable as a pulsatile mass in the abdomen. 

Up to 25% may be complicated by rupture 3. In these cases, patients present with acute abdominal pain and bleeding that is associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality 4

Follow-up and treatment recommendations vary somewhat for different types of visceral artery aneurysms, and are discussed in more detail in their respective articles.

In general, treatment for VAAs is generally recommended when they are >2 cm in size.

Follow-up recommendations some types of VAAs is not established. Patients with pancreaticoduodenal aneurysms (e.g. post-Whipple procedure patients) are thought to be at higher risk of rupture than other VAAs. If the VAA is thought to be a pseudoaneurysm, then it would probably be prudent to have a shorter follow up interval.

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Article information

rID: 30895
System: Vascular
Section: Gamuts
Tags: refs, aneurysm
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Splanchnic artery aneurysms
  • Splanchnic aneurysms
  • Splanchnic artery aneurysm
  • Splanchnic arterial aneurysms
  • Splanchnic arterial aneurysm

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: splenic artery aneurysm
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    3D Volume Rendering
    Case 2: coeliac artery aneurysm
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    Case 3: coeliac artery aneurysm
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    Case 4: inferior mesenteric artery aneurysm
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