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Vol 28, No 4 (2022)
Case report
Published online: 2022-12-30

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Standing waves in a patient with systemic scleroderma

Michał Piotr Wysocki1, Andrzej Szuba2, Jędrzej Fischer2
Acta Angiologica 2022;28(4):171-174.


Standing waves are a very rare angiographic image with an unclear etiology. Many theories have been developed
to explain this phenomenon, but none have been confirmed. We present an interesting case of a 57-year-old
woman, whose angiography showed standing waves along the entire length of the superficial femoral artery.
On admission, the patient’s general condition was fairly good. No significant abnormalities were observed in the
P-A chest feet and hands X-ray, as well as in the ultrasound of the abdominal cavity and pelvis. On March 8,
the patient underwent angiography documenting the presence of regular “goose trachea-like” ‘notched walls’
over the entire length of the right superficial femoral artery. Angiography was then followed by an ultrasound
exam of femoral arteries, however, no femoral artery wall changes were seen. The diagnosis was standing
waves. Moreover, extensive diagnostics for systemic disease, as well as the overall clinical picture allowed for
the diagnosis of systemic scleroderma.
Standing waves are a rare phenomenon, harmless to the patient’s life and health. Researchers have put forward
many theories to explain its unclear etiology. The presence of standing waves has also been reported with
the coexistence of diseases such as Buerger’s, Tolos-Hunt’s, or rheumatic heart disease. Moreover, it is worth
mentioning the possibility of misdiagnosing standing waves as FMD.
To summarize, standing waves are a harmless phenomenon. Despite its rare occurrence, it is worth remembering
not to misdiagnose it and consequently, implement unnecessary diagnostics and treatment and cause
superfluous anxiety in the patient.

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