February 18, 1983

Fatal Rectus Sheath Hematoma

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology (Drs Ducatman and Ludwig) and Division of Community Internal Medicine (Dr Hurt), Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

JAMA. 1983;249(7):924-925. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330310054028

Rectus sheath hematoma is an uncommon, often misdiagnosed, and usually self-limited condition. In a recent review of autopsy cases at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, we found two patients in whom hemorrhages into the rectus sheaths were considered the immediate cause of death and one in whom the hemorrhage was considered a contributing cause of death. Rectus sheath hematoma should be included in the differential diagnosis of an abdominal mass of sudden onset, especially in patients who have been given anticoagulants. The condition may be fatal if the volume of the hemorrhage is large and if treatment is delayed.

(JAMA 1983;249:924-925)