[Cystic adventitial degeneration of the popliteal artery; an unexpected cause of intermittent claudication].Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2005 Aug 06; 149(32):1802-7.NT
Three men, aged 48, 44 and 51 years, were referred to the vascular surgery outpatient clinic because of acute intermittent claudication in one leg. The first patient had no medical history and no vascular risk factors, the second patient was receiving drug treatment for hypercholesterolaemia and diabetes mellitus and the third patient smoked. After additional radiological diagnostics, cystic adventitial degeneration of the popliteal artery was diagnosed in all patients. All 3 patients were operated. Only circumferential resection of the cystic adventitia and the outer layer of the media, so-called exarteriectomy, was performed in the second patient. The other 2 patients underwent resection of the affected popliteal artery followed by an autologous vein graft. The post-operative course was uncomplicated. The diagnosis of cystic adventitial degeneration was confirmed histopathologically. Cystic adventitial degeneration is localised only in the popliteal artery in 85-90% of cases. It is probably caused by incorporation of mesenchymal cells in the wall of the popliteal artery during embryogenesis. The disease is often progressive and, if left untreated, may lead to critical ischaemia due to arterial occlusion. Surgical intervention is therefore necessary, with exarteriectomy as the preferred technique, especially because the patients are often young.