Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome is a rare vascular disease that can be present from birth due to the way the calf muscles develop, or it can develop as a result of athletic training as the calf muscle enlarges.
The popliteal artery is the main artery that passes behind the knee. In some patients, this artery can be compressed by the surrounding muscles and tendons when the muscles contract, which results in restricted blood flow to the lower leg.
When this condition exists, the patient may experience pain, numbness, fatigue or cramping in the calf during exercise. Typically, the symptoms will resolve with a few minutes of rest.
Figure A displays 3D images of the popliteal arteries of a patient with PAES. Figure B is a curved plane through the center of the right popliteal artery shown from the front and from the side. The images on the left show normal blood flow when the patient’s muscles are relaxed, and the images on the right show the same patient when the muscles are stressed or contracted.
3D imaging allows a quick, comprehensive view of the abnormal condition in just a few images.