BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.07.2011.4496
  • Rare disease

Spontaneous adrenal haemorrhage in pregnancy

  1. Sharma S2
  1. 1Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield, Yorkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Antonios Anagnostopoulos, anagnost{at}


The authors present a case of spontaneous adrenal haemorrhage, in a 28-year-old woman at 36 weeks of a twin pregnancy. Initial symptom was sudden onset chest pain which soon migrated to abdomen, accompanied by hypovolaemic shock and fetal bradycardia. Subsequent caesarean section for suspected placental abruption and resuscitation with nine units of blood, 10 of cryoprecipitate, four of fresh frozen plasma and two of platelets, in order to treat anaemia of Hgb of 3.6 g/dl and disseminated intravascular coagulation, failed to stabilise the woman. A CT scan of abdomen and pelvis then revealed a 15×17×17 cm retroperitoneal haematoma, secondary to right adrenal haemorrhage. Management was with laparotomy drainage and packing of the retroperitoneal haematoma along with the use of activated factor VII. Adrenal haemorrhage in pregnancy is an extremely rare, acute, life-threatening condition, presenting with non-specific symptoms.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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