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Popliteal artery aneurysm – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, July 20, 2018 by

A popliteal artery aneurysm occurs when the wall of the popliteal artery, which supplies blood to the knee joint, thigh, and calf, develops a bulge and weakens.

While the exact cause of a popliteal artery aneurysms remains unknown, it is believed that they are linked to atherosclerosis/plaque buildup in the arteries. Trauma to the artery can also result in a popliteal artery aneurysm.

Known side effects of popliteal artery aneurysm

Common side effects caused by the condition usually include:

  • An edema/collection of watery fluid in the lower leg
  • Foot pain
  • Gangrene/tissue death- This often requires some form of amputation.
  • Pain behind the knee
  • Pain or numbness in the foot
  • Ulcers/painful sores on the skin of the feet that don’t heal

Risk factors for popliteal artery aneurysm may include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Having a family history of heart or vascular disease
  • Having blood vessel reconstruction done in one or both of the legs
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol levels

Body systems harmed by popliteal artery aneurysm

Popliteal artery aneurysm may cause the following complications:

  • Blood clot – A patient with a blood clot may need a leg amputation.
  • Life-threatening and uncontrollable bleeding – This often occurs when a popliteal artery aneurysm ruptures.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent popliteal artery aneurysm

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent popliteal artery aneurysm or associated conditions, such as atherosclerosis:

  • Fatty fish – Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help minimize heart rhythm disturbances, high blood pressure, inflammation, and triglyceride levels. Sources include anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, and salmon.
  • Herbs and spices – Herbs and spices can protect the cells in your body from disease. Sources include garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Leafy greens – Leafy greens like arugula, beets, kale, lettuce, and spinach have nitrates, a form of nitrogen that these vegetables absorb from the soil. During digestion, nitrates are turned into an important gas called nitric oxide that can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
  • Tea – Black, green, and oolong tea contains plant substances or flavonoids that can help neutralize oxidation in the body. These teas can prevent heart disease by preventing dietary cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream and regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Vegetables – Vegetables are full of fiber, minerals, special phytonutrients, and vitamins that can boost heart health. Sources include asparagus, bell peppers, bok choy, and tomatoes.

Treatments, management plans for popliteal artery aneurysm

Treatment options for a popliteal artery aneurysm usually depend on factors like a patient’s age, overall health condition, and symptoms. Healthcare professionals typically recommend the repair of popliteal aneurysms bigger than 3 cm in diameter.

The chances of success of treatment for the condition depends on the condition of the arteries and how much damage the blood clotting has caused.

Treatment methods include:

  • Endovascular techniques – This can help prevent a blood clot from traveling to and blocking the leg arteries and the rupture of an aneurysm.
  • Surgery – This procedure aims to remove an aneurysm from the circulation by litigating/tying off the artery above and below it.
  • Thrombolysis – This procedure can help clear the arteries downstream from an aneurysm and reopen a blocked aneurysm. This doesn’t treat an aneurysm, but it can help clear up the arteries to prepare for the main treatment of the condition.

Where to learn more


A popliteal artery aneurysm occurs when the wall of the popliteal artery, which supplies blood to the knee joint, thigh, and calf, develops a bulge and weakens.

Common side effects caused by the condition usually include edema, foot pain, gangrene, and pain behind the knee.

Popliteal artery aneurysm may cause complications like a blood clot or life-threatening and uncontrollable bleeding.

Fatty fish, herbs and spices, leafy greens, tea, and vegetables can help prevent popliteal artery aneurysm or associated conditions, such as atherosclerosis.

Treatment methods for a popliteal artery aneurysm include endovascular techniques, surgery, or thrombolysis.

Sources include:


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