Peripheral Aneurysm


Peripheral Aneurysm

A weakening in the wall of a blood vessel in your abdomen or sometimes in a leg which results in an abnormally dilated area. This dilated area is prone to:

  • Clotting off and interrupting blood flow.
  • Rupturing and causing serious bleeding.
  • Compressing adjacent tissues.

Usually Genetic, Rarely Occur

  • Peripheral aneurysms are usually genetic; that is, you are born with the tendency to form them.
  • Aneurysms in the abdomen, called splenic aneurysms, are uncommon, affecting 0.7% of the population.
  • Peripheral aneurysms in the legs are very rare, affecting 0.007% of men, and even fewer women.

May Require Treatment

If you develop a peripheral aneurysm, it will not go away unless treated.

  • Most peripheral aneurysms over 2 cm in diameter require treatment.
  • In some cases even smaller aneurysms may require treatment.


  • Many peripheral aneurysms cause no symptoms and are found when your doctor does a physical or performs testing for other reasons.
  • May indicate that a splenic aneurysm in your abdomen is causing bleeding.
  • May signal interrupted blood flow an aneurysm in your leg. In rare cases, may indicate compression of nearby nerves or compression of a vein next to the aneurysm.
  • “Blue toes” may indicate the presence of small blood clots washed down from elsewhere. This condition heals on its own in 2-3 months.


  • If family members have had an aneurysm you are more likely to have one.
  • Having one peripheral aneurysm increases the risk of developing another one elsewhere.
  • Smoking is the major controllable cause of aneurysm growth.
  • For women, splenic aneurysms in the abdomen have a tendency to grow during pregnancy and are more common for mothers who have had many children.


Peripheral aneurysms are often identified in a physical exam. If so, make an appointment to see a vascular surgeon.

If a peripheral aneurysm is suspected, duplex ultrasound and computerized tomography (CT) scans are good tests to confirm its presence.

If your vascular surgeon prescribes treatment, a computerized tomography (CT) angiography or catheter angiography may be needed.

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