Infected femoral pseudoaneurysms from intravenous drug abuse in young adults
Intravenous or parenteral drug abuse is the most common cause of infected femoral artery pseudoaneurysms (IFAP). This complication of intravenous drug abuse is not only limb threatening but can also be life threatening. The management of IFAP is difficult and controversial. Generally speaking, ligation and excision of the pseudoaneurysm without revascularization is accepted procedure in the majority of patients, with acceptable morbidity and low rate of limb loss. However, it is not an appropriate procedure for cases of acute interruption of the femoral artery flow, where a high probability of amputation is expected. We present four cases of young patients (average 19.5 years, range 17–24) with IFAP, where primary reconstruction was performed due to the absence of a Doppler signal over the pedal arteries after ligation of the common femoral artery. In two cases complications in the form of hemorrhage and repeated infection developed in the late postoperative period; in one case excision and ligation was performed, and in the last case reconstruction with a silver-impregnated dacron prosthesis. None of the patients required an amputation. Overall prognosis is uncertain because of the high incidence of postoperative drug injection despite aggressive drug rehabilitation.