Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome

Stanley Bradshaw, Peiman Habibollahi, Jayesh Soni, Marcin Kolber, Anil K. Pillai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES) is an uncommon cause of lower extremity exertional claudication due to external compression of vascular structures in the popliteal fossa. A developmental anomaly due to an aberrant relationship of the artery with the surrounding myofascial structures contributes to the vascular compromise. PAES presents in younger, athletic patients without atherosclerotic risk factors. Typical presentation of unilateral or bilateral, intermittent claudication in the feet and calves specifically after exercise and relieved by rest in a young person should prompt further evaluation. Early diagnosis and intervention is essential for preventing thromboembolic complication and in worst cases limb loss. Initial tests with Ankle Brachial indices or Doppler ultrasound with provocative maneuvers will prompt more definitive cross sectional imaging studies. CTA or MRA also with provocative maneuvers has a high sensitivity and specificity and will clinch the diagnosis. There are six subtypes based on the relationship of the vascular structure with surround myofascial structures. CTA and MRA can characterize the subtypes and guide surgical planning. Catheter directed thrombolysis may be attempted adjunctively to reduce surgical thrombectomy or resolve distal emboli; however, myotendinous decompression with or without vascular repair is the definitive treatment. Long term surgical outcomes are satisfactory when the distal circulation is preserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1167
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Arterial occlusive diseases
  • Lower extremity
  • Popliteal artery
  • Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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