Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 13, Issue 11, pp 1129–1134

The use of ultrasound to differentiate rectus sheath hematoma from other acute abdominal disorders

  • P. J. Klingler
  • G. Wetscher
  • K. Glaser
  • J. Tschmelitsch
  • T. Schmid
  • R. A. Hinder
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s004649901188

Cite this article as:
Klingler, P., Wetscher, G., Glaser, K. et al. Surg Endosc (1999) 13: 1129. doi:10.1007/s004649901188

Abstract

Background: Rectus sheath hematoma (RSH) is a rare entity that can mimic an acute abdomen. Therefore, we designed a study to analyze the etiology, frequency, diagnosis using ultrasound, and treatment of RSH.

Methods: A total of 1,257 patients admitted for abdominal ultrasound for acute abdominal pain or unclear acute abdominal disorders were evaluated.

Results: In 23 (1.8%) patients, an RSH was diagnosed; three of them were not diagnosed preoperatively by ultrasound. Of 13 men and 10 women (mean age, 57 ± 23 years), 13 developed RSH after local trauma, three after severe coughing, two after defecation, and five spontaneously. Fifteen had nonsurgical therapy, and eight underwent surgery. The use of anticoagulants was accompanied by a larger diameter of the RSH (p < .012), and surgical therapy was more frequently required in these patients. In the surgically treated group, more intraabdominal free fluid could be detected by ultrasound (p < .0005), patients required less analgesics (p < .001), and the mean hospital stay was shorter (p < .001).

Conclusions: RSH is a rare condition that is usually associated with abdominal trauma and/or anticoagulation therapy. Ultrasound is a good screening technique. Nonsurgical therapy is appropriate but leads to a greater need for analgesics. Surgery should be restricted to cases with a large hematoma or free intraabdominal rupture.

Key words: Rectus sheath hematoma — Acute abdomen — Ultrasound

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Klingler
    • 1
  • G. Wetscher
    • 2
  • K. Glaser
    • 2
  • J. Tschmelitsch
    • 2
  • T. Schmid
    • 2
  • R. A. Hinder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USAUSA
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, AustriaAustria