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What is a pseudoaneurysm?

A pseudoaneurysm, also known as a false aneurysm, happens when blood leaks through a rupture in the vessel wall but is contained by the adventitia or surrounding perivascular soft tissue. A direct transmission of blood flow exists between the vessel lumen and the aneurysm lumen through the hole in the vessel wall.


The symptoms of a pseudoaneurysm are usually a painful, tender, pulsatile mass, and the overlying skin is sometimes red. These pulsatile masses can sometimes be confused with abscesses. A person who is experiencing these symptoms may describe a history of catheterization or trauma, and they may note the gradual expansion of the pulsatile mass.

When to see a doctor

The risk of rupture is higher with a pseudoaneurysm than with that of a true aneurysm of comparable size, due to poor support of the aneurysm wall. Pseudoaneurysms generally require treatment, so if you have symptoms, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.

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