Intragastric rupture of a splenic artery aneurysm - a case report
© Ousadden et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
Received: 26 October 2009
Accepted: 18 November 2009
Published: 18 November 2009
Hematemesis caused by intragastric rupture of a splenic artery aneurysm, is an exceptional and potentially lethal emergency.
A 36 years old woman, mother of seven children presented with hematemesis. The gastric endoscopy revealed a bleeding polypoid lesion leading to a surgical management. The operative discovery of a complicated splenic artery aneurysm, led to its resection with splenectomy and gastric suture.
Intragastric rupture of a splenic artery aneurysm is an exceptional emergency which urgent diagnosis and management can avoid a potential lethal evolution.
The SAA is more frequent in women (nearly 80% of all cases) , especially during pregnancy or in multiparous [2, 4, 5]. During pregnancy, high splenic blood flow and increased hormone levels (oestrogen, progesterone, relaxine), cause a deleterious effect on elastic tissue of the splenic artery [3, 5]. These effects are cumulative with each successive pregnancy . Our patient had seven pregnancies. Only 20% of all SAA are multiple [2, 6] as in our case. They are most often saccular, exceptionally fusiform and are located in about 80% on the distal third of the artery .
The SAA diagnosis is difficult cause only 17% of all patients are symptomatic [6, 7]. These symptoms are non-specific . Abdominal radiograph shows rarely a prevertebral calcification. For diagnosis, ultrasonography, pulsed Doppler, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are useful, when arteriography is the gold standard . The principal complication of a SAA >2 cm is rupture [1, 4, 6, 8]. The reported risk varies from 2 to 9.6% [6, 8]. The rupture happens sometimes in the in the splenic vein and often in the peritoneal cavity causing a cataclysmic bleeding. In 30% of all cases, the rupture occurs in a viscera  like the pancreas, the colon or the stomach  causing a digestive bleeding as in our case. To date, within more than 3000 reported digestive artery aneurysms, there are fewer than 100 SAA intragastric ruptures .
The SAA rupture causes 25% average mortality [5, 6], about 70% during pregnancy and 95% foetal mortality . These serious risks justify a SAA management. This management can be made by Interventional radiological techniques (arterial stent or percutaneous angiographic embolization) [3, 10] or by surgery (operative occlusion, resection or arterial bypass) [3, 9]. The treatment must be the most conservative for the spleen. But distal localisation, near the spleen hilum, as in our case, can impose a splenectomy . A gastro-aneurismal fistula can be managed by gastric suture.
The intragastric rupture of a spelnic artery aneurysm is exceptional. Its presentation as a digestive bleeding is an emergency which urgent management can avoid a potential lethal evolution.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and accompanying images.
The authors would like to thank the patient for her written consent and permission to present this case report.
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