JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Spontaneous rectus sheath hematoma in pregnancy and a systematic anatomical workup of rectus sheath hematoma: a case report

Kerstin Eckhoff, Thilo Wedel, Marcus Both, Kayhan Bas, Nicolai Maass, Ibrahim Alkatout
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2016 October 19, 10 (1): 292
27756362

BACKGROUND: Rectus sheath hematoma is a rare clinical diagnosis, particularly in pregnancy. Due to unspecific symptoms, misdiagnosis is likely and could potentially endanger a patient as well as her fetus.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 26-year-old white woman presented with mild right-sided abdominal pain, which increased during palpation and movement, at 26 + 3 weeks' gestational age. Ultrasound imaging initially showed a round and well-demarcated structure, which appeared to be in contact with her uterine wall, leading to a suspected diagnosis of an infarcted leiomyoma. However, she reported increasing levels of pain and laboratory tests showed a significant drop in her initially normal hemoglobin level. A magnetic resonance imaging scan finally revealed a large type III rectus sheath hematoma on the right side. Because of progressive blood loss into her rectus sheath under conservative therapy, with a significant further decrease in her hemoglobin levels, surgical treatment via right-sided paramedian laparotomy was initiated. During the operation the arterial bleed could be ligated. She eventually achieved complete convalescence and delivered a healthy newborn spontaneously after 40 weeks of gestation.

CONCLUSION: This case report highlights the clinical and diagnostic features of rectus sheath hematoma and shows the anatomical aspects of the rectus sheath, simplifying early and correct diagnosis.

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