Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome: diagnosis and management, with report of three cases.Tex Heart Inst J. 2000; 27(1):3-13.TH
Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is an important albeit infrequent cause of serious disability among young adults and athletes with anomalous anatomic relationships between the popliteal artery and surrounding musculotendinous structures. We report our experience with 3 patients, in whom we used duplex ultrasonography, computed tomography, digital subtraction angiography, and conventional arteriography to diagnose popliteal artery entrapment and to grade the severity of dynamic circulatory insufficiency and arterial damage. We used a posterior surgical approach to give the best view of the anatomic structures compressing the popliteal artery. In 2 patients, in whom compression had not yet damaged the arterial wall, operative decompression of the artery by resection of the aberrant muscle was sufficient. In the 3rd patient, operative reconstruction of an occluded segment with autologous vein graft was necessary, in addition to decompression of the vessel and resection of aberrant muscle. The result in each case was complete recovery, with absence of symptoms and with patency verified by Doppler examination. We conclude that clinicians who encounter young patients with progressive lowerlimb arterial insufficiency should be aware of the possibility of popliteal artery entrapment. Early diagnosis through a combined approach (careful physical examination and history-taking, duplex ultrasonography, computerized tomography, and angiography) is necessary for exact diagnosis. The treatment of choice is the surgical creation of normal anatomy within the popliteal fossa.