Popliteal Aneurysm: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

A popliteal aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel (artery) behind your knee. The bulge occurs in a weak spot in the artery. It may occur in one or both legs. This kind of aneurysm is most common in older men.

Blood clots can form in this type of aneurysm and block blood flow in your leg. A small aneurysm may not need surgery, although your doctor will watch it closely.

Having a popliteal aneurysm means you may also have heart disease. There are many things you can do to improve your heart health. Doing these things may also prevent more damage to your blood vessels.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not smoke. Smoking can damage blood vessels. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the chance of an aneurysm enlarging. A low-salt diet and regular exercise can keep blood pressure under control. Your doctor may also recommend medicine to lower your blood pressure.
  • Control high cholesterol. A low-fat diet and regular exercise can help lower your cholesterol. Your doctor may recommend medicine to control your cholesterol level.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight may not make the aneurysm any worse. But being at a healthy weight can reduce your risks from surgery if you need it.
  • If your doctor recommends it, get more exercise. Walking is a good choice. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk every day. Try for at least 2½ hours a week. You also may want to swim, bike, or do other activities.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have sudden pain in your leg or foot.
  • Your leg or foot is cool or pale or changes colour.
  • You have tingling or numbness in your foot.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Y888 in the search box to learn more about "Popliteal Aneurysm: Care Instructions."