✓ Pseudoaneurysm formation of the cervical internal carotid artery (ICA) is a rare, potentially lethal complication of deep neck space infection. This entity typically occurs following otolaryngological or upper respiratory tract infection. The pseudoaneurysm is heralded by a pulsatile neck mass, Horner's syndrome, lower cranial neuropathies, and/or hemorrhage that may be massive. The recommended treatment includes prompt arterial ligation.
The authors present a case of pseudoaneurysm of the cervical ICA complicating a deep neck space infection. A parapharyngeal Staphylococcus aureus abscess developed in a previously healthy 6-year-old girl after she experienced pharyngitis. The abscess was drained via an intraoral approach. On postoperative Day 3, the patient developed a pulsatile neck mass, lethargy, ipsilateral Horner's syndrome, and hemoptysis, which resulted in hemorrhagic shock. Treatment included emergency endovascular occlusion of the cervical ICA and postembolization antibiotic treatment for 6 weeks. The patient has made an uneventful recovery as of her 18-month follow-up evaluation.
Conclusions drawn from this experience and a review of the literature include the following: 1) mycotic pseudoaneurysms of the carotid arteries have a typical clinical presentation that should enable timely recognition; 2) these lesions occur more commonly in children than in adults; 3) angiography with a view to performing endovascular occlusion should be undertaken promptly; and 4) endovascular occlusion of the pseudoaneurysm is a viable treatment option.