Background. Pancreaticoduodenal artery aneurysms (PDAs) are rare, accounting for only 2% of all visceral artery aneurysms. The majority of reported cases of patients with PDA have presented subsequent to rupture. Presentation without rupture also has been reported and is often associated with abdominal discomfort or diagnosed incidentally on radiologic studies. PDA rupture is associated with a high mortality rate, with fatal bleeding into the retroperitoneal space, intraperitoneal cavity, or gastrointestinal tract. Methods. This article reports two cases of ruptured PDA, both presenting as catastrophic intraabdominal bleeding and both treated successfully at celiotomy. In addition, the literature concerning PDA is reviewed. Results. Only 11 cases of PDA associated with sudden, severe abdominal pain and shock have been described. The mortality rate in these 11 cases was 36%, with half the patients not reaching the operating room alive. Successful management includes rapid resuscitation and control of the bleeding site with minimal pancreatic dissection, angiography for confirmation of vascular control and anatomic localization, and further definitive treatment if obliteration is incomplete. Conclusions. The aneurysm should be obliterated whenever possible to avoid both rebleeding and local complications related to mass effect such as pancreatic duct obstruction or erosion of the mass into neighboring structures. With appropriate and expeditious treatment, these gravely ill patients can be managed effectively and good outcomes obtained.
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