Pseudo-Aneurysm: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A pseudo-aneurysm is a hole in the wall of a blood vessel (artery). The blood from inside the artery can then leak out of the artery. It is most common in the artery that runs from the hip to the knee. It can be caused by the puncture of an artery during a medical test, such as certain heart tests. People who take blood thinners are more likely to develop a pseudo-aneurysm.

Some pseudo-aneurysms heal without treatment. Those that continue to grow larger may need treatment. The doctor may inject medicine through a needle to make the blood clot in the pseudo-aneurysm. He or she may also use pressure (compression) to make the blood clot. If these do not work, you may need surgery to repair the hole in the artery.

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?

  • Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the chance of an aneurysm bursting. 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.
  • Do not smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight may not make the pseudo-aneurysm any worse. But being at a healthy weight can reduce your risks from surgery if you need it.

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.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

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

  • You have sudden or increasing pain in your groin.
  • 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 do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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