Indian Journal of Otology

: 2013  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27--29

Pseudoaneurysm of petrous internal carotid artery presenting as aural polyp

Mohan Johnson, Venugopal Madhavakurup, AV Sandeep 
 Department of ENT, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
A V Sandeep
Puthiyottumkandy (HO), Ponnaram Street, Balussery (PO), Kozhikode, Kerala - 673 612


A 62-year-old male presented with a rare case of pseudoaneurysm of petrous internal carotid artery (ICA) caused by chronic otitis media manifesting as right aural polyp. There was massive bleeding following aural polypectomy and histopathology came as inflammatory polyp. HRCT temporal bone showed defect in petrous part of right ICA canal and features suggestive of cholesteatoma. CT angiogram showed a laterally directed aneurysm from the junction of horizontal and vertical segment of petrous ICA. Right ICA trapping done using coil embolization. Postcoiling angiogram showed nonopacification of aneurysm and good cross circulation from opposite side. After two months right modified radical mastoidectomy was done and intraoperative findings showed automastoidectomy with cholesteatoma filling mastoid and middle ear and erosion of ossicles. There was no postoperative complications and patient is now on regular follow-up and is asymptomatic. Psedoaneurysm of petrous ICA is rare and psedoaneurysm as a complication of chronic otitis media is extremely rare.

How to cite this article:
Johnson M, Madhavakurup V, Sandeep A V. Pseudoaneurysm of petrous internal carotid artery presenting as aural polyp.Indian J Otol 2013;19:27-29

How to cite this URL:
Johnson M, Madhavakurup V, Sandeep A V. Pseudoaneurysm of petrous internal carotid artery presenting as aural polyp. Indian J Otol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 May 14 ];19:27-29
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Pseudoaneurysm of petrous internal carotid artery is rare and may occur as a result of gunshot penetrating trauma, arterial dissection, invasive tumor, radiation therapy, fibromuscular disease, or as a complication of surgery. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16] Such pseudoaneurysms may grow and become a potential source of thromboembolic complications or rupture. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Pseudoaneurysm caused by infectious disease such as chronic otitis media is extremely rare, with only seven reported cases. [1],[3],[5],[8],[9],[10],[16] We treated a rare case of ruptured psedoaneurysm in the petrous ICA caused by chronic otits media.

 Case Report

A 62-year-old man presented with a history of sudden torrential right ear bleed following an ear pick procedure for which he was taken into a local hospital. From the local hospital as per records they noticed an aural polyp on right side for which polypectomy was done. Following the procedure there was again torrential bleeding (approximately one litre) and referred to our institution with a compressed ear pack. Histopathology later came as inflammatory polyp.

There was history of right ear discharge for last 15 years which was scanty, purulent, foul smelling and occasionally blood stained. Associated gradually progressive hard of hearing of right ear for last eight years. No history of tinnitus or bleeding diathesis. All the routine blood examinations and coagulation profiles were within normal limits except for a low Hb level of 6.5 gm%. We started two pint packed red cell transfusion and pack removed from theater. There was again massive bleeding and repacked. As the patient was not free of ear pack during the course in the hospital we could not do a proper ear examination or pure tone audiogram.

We took a high-resolution CT of temporal bone, which showed automastoidectomy with canal wall erosion, erosion of ossicles and features suggestive of cholesteatoma. There was defect in the petrous segment of right carotid canal with intact facial canal, dural and sinus plate [Figure 1]. CT angiogram showed a laterally directed aneurysm from the junction of vertical and horizontal segment of right petrous part of internal carotid artery [Figure 2]. With the help of intervention from radiologist, a right internal carotid artery (ICA) trapping was done using coil embolization under guidance of intraoperative angiography [Figure 3]a and b. Before the procedure, a balloon embolization was done for ensuring the adequacy of cross circulation. Post coiling angiogram showed non-opacification of aneurysm and good cross circulation from opposite side [Figure 3]c and d. There were no complications following the procedure except for a transient dimness of vision, which recovered fully within two days. Ear pack was removed and there was absolutely no bleed.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}

After two months, when the patient's general condition was stable, right modified radical mastoidectomy and type four tympanoplasty were done as a definitive treatment. Intraoperative findings were automastoidectomy with cholesteatoma sac filling mastoid and middle ear with erosion of ossicles [Figure 4]. There was no postoperative complications, patient is on regular follow-up and is asymptomatic.{Figure 4}


Ear bleeding may be due to rupture of eardrum, trauma, tumors, infections, aural polyp, granulations or bleeding disorders. Aural polyp may be due to chronic suppurative otitis media, cholesteatoma, glomus tumor, malignancy or granulomatous diseases. Pseudoaneurysm of petrous ICA may be due to gunshot penetrating trauma, arterial dissection, invasive tumors, radiation therapy, fibromuscular diseases or very rarely chronic otitis media.

The previous cases of pseudoaneurysm in the petrous ICA were caused by chronic otitis media manifested as facial numbness, diplopia, seventh cranial nerve dysfunction and auditory dysfunction, [6],[8],[11],[12] whereas dysfunction of the ninth, tenth and twelfth cranial nerves was less common. Direct pressure of the pseudoaneurysm on these nerves caused disturbance in nerve functions. Pseudoaneurysms can also cause pulsatile tinnitus or bruit and are sometimes discovered as a retrotympanic vascular mass during otological examinations. Pseudoaneurysms can also manifest as massive otorrhagia or epistaxis following acute rupture, so these rare aneurysms require care. [1],[2],[3],[5],[11]

Our patient gives history of hearing loss which may be due to chronic otitis media. Aural polyp that occurred as a complication of long-standing chronic otitis media may be attached to the pseudoaneurysm. Ear bleeding occurred during earpick procedure may be from aural polyp and torrential bleeding occurred during aural polypectomy may be due to rupture of pseudoaneurysm. Therefore avulsion of aural polyp may be very risky in a patient with chronic otitis media.

Our patient presented with only otorrhagia. However, rupture of pseudoaneurysm could have caused epistaxis through the Eustachian tube. Direct compression may not be able to stop epistaxis, and aspiration of the blood may cause apnea, respiratory failure or hemorrhagic shock.

The appropriate management strategy for these rare lesions is unclear. [7],[15] Revascularization of the carotid artery using a cervical to middle cerebral artery vein bypass graft may be necessary to provide immediate restoration of high blood flow and to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality caused by acute ischemic complications. [1],[11]

Searching through the literature, there are seven reported cases of ruptured pseudoaneurysm caused by chronic otitis media. Three cases were treated without revascularization and two cases with revascularization. [1],[3],[5],[9],[11] One case was treated with coil embolization of the aneurysm dome as done in our patient. [8] We have also done a modified radical mastoidectomy as a definitive procedure.


Pseudoaneurysm of petrous internal carotid artery is rare and pseudoaneurysm as a complication of chronic otitis media is extremely rare. It should be in mind while taking a biopsy from aural polyp that it can cause torrential bleeding due to hidden vascular incidents. So aural polyp should never be avulsed.


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