External Iliac Artery Endofibrosis (EIAE) is an uncommon disease usually affecting young, otherwise healthy, patients. It usually involves cyclists but cases have been reported in other groups of endurance athletes. The external iliac artery is the most affected anatomical site but other locations are described too. The precise pathophysiology and long-term evolution of the disease still remain unknown. The diagnosis may be challenging and delayed as the patients usually present symptoms only in extreme conditions and physical and instrumental examinations may be normal at rest.
We present two cases of young professional cyclists who suffered of exercise-induced leg pain which led them to reduce running. Both patients were firstly treated with balloon angioplasty that rapidly failed to improve their symptoms. The successive open surgery with endofibrosectomy and autologous saphenous vein closure patch completely resolved physical limitations.
EIAE is a rare disease that can induce arterial stenosis, thrombosis, dissection and secondary atheroma. After-exercise ankle-brachial index represents a useful diagnostic criterion. Careful observation of angio-CT may strengthen the suspect. Knowledge of the these features allows a better pre-operative assessment and an early effective treatment. Surgical revascularization remains the gold standard approach.