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Hepatic Artery Aneurysms

By Nicholas T. Orfanidis, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

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Aneurysms of the hepatic artery are uncommon. They tend to be saccular and multiple. Causes include infection, arteriosclerosis, trauma, and vasculitis.

Untreated aneurysms may cause death by rupturing into the common bile duct (causing hemobilia), the peritoneum (causing peritonitis), or adjacent hollow viscera. Hemobilia may cause jaundice, upper GI bleeding, and abdominal pain in the right upper quadrant.

Diagnosis is suspected if typical symptoms occur or if imaging tests detect an aneurysm. Doppler ultrasonography, followed by contrast CT, is required for confirmation.

Treatment is embolization or surgical ligation.