The popliteal artery may be compressed behind the knee, due to congenital deformity of the muscles or tendon insertions of the popliteal fossa. This repetitive trauma may result in stenotic artery degeneration, complete artery occlusion, or even formation of an aneurysm.(1)
Love and Whelan proposed a classification of this pathology into four types, according to the various relationships between the popliteal artery and the muscles of the popliteal space. Rich and Hughes described popliteal vein compression, thus adding a fifth type into the former classification.(1)
What Is The Prognosis For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome?
Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is a condition commonly found in young males preferably in the age group of 20 to 40 years. It is more common in males as compared to females with a ratio of 10 – 15:1 (2). This condition can also sometimes arise congenitally due to abnormal development of gastrocnemius muscle or abnormal path of the popliteal artery but it is very rare. Athletically active individuals are more prone to suffer from this condition because it leads to hypertrophy of calf muscles which tends to entrap the popliteal artery causing stenosis.
The prognosis of popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is based upon the time of diagnosis and severity of the condition. If the condition is detected in the early stages and there has no permanent damage that occurred till then it can be managed successfully and very efficiently with the help of medical as well as surgical treatment methods. A single surgery for relieving the entrapped popliteal artery is usually sufficient with an acute rate of almost 100 %. The post-operative admission in the hospital is for about one or two days and the person recovers from the condition completely within 4 weeks.
But if popliteal artery entrapment syndrome has already led to permanent damage to the muscles and nerves of the lengthen it may be difficult to completely revert the condition. It may threaten the limb viability even after complete treatment. There may be a need for bypass grafting to recanalize the stenosed artery which is a complicated procedure and has many poor prognostic factors. Prognosis also varies with the fact that either this condition is a developmental or an acquired one.
Developmental causes of popliteal artery entrapment syndrome are more difficult to treat because of abnormal path or development as compared to acquired cases in which there is only excessive hypertrophy of calf muscles is compressing the artery.
Lifestyle Changes For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome?
Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is a young age condition and preferably found in healthy males with athletic abilities, hence there is not much of a lifestyle change that is recommended. If the person has started feeling pain then he should immediately contact the doctor for early diagnosis of the condition. Home treatment should not be done for a long period because it only leads to ignorance of the condition and nothing else. Physical exercise should be gradually increased which will help to cope with the slow blood supply coming via a stenosed artery. Surgical treatment should be sought to completely cure the condition and return to normal life.
It is very evident and conclusive that the prognosis of popliteal artery entrapment syndrome is purely based upon the time of diagnosis and cause of its development. If it gets diagnosed early on, it can be treated completely with minor surgery but if the diagnosis is delayed due to any reason there is increase chances of getting more complications. Similarly, if there is development abnormality of the gastrocnemius muscle or the popliteal artery, then it may be difficult to correct it but if there is only hypertrophy which is compressing the artery, then the part of the artery can be deviated to prevent it from compression.