Uterine rupture

Dr Daniel J Bell and Radswiki et al.

Uterine rupture is a rare but nevertheless potentially catastrophic complication that can occur in pregnancy. 

The incidence rate in pregnancy is 0.05% 6.  

Uterine rupture is usually an acute presentation with hemodynamic instability and abdominal discomfort.

The most common cause (>90%) of uterine rupture is an old Cesarean section scar. Uterine rupture may be limited to dehiscence of the ends of the Cesarean scar with an intact overlying serosal layer. A full-thickness uterine rupture with direct communication of the uterine and peritoneal cavities results in massive hemoperitoneum, and carries high fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality. Classic scars are more likely to rupture before labor, whereas lower uterine segment scars tend to rupture after labor.

In general uterine ruptures tend to favor the anterior lower uterine segment, especially when associated with pregnancy.

Reported sonographic signs of uterine rupture include:

  • identification of the protruding portion of the amniotic sac
  • endometrial or myometrial defect
  • intraperitoneal fetal parts
  • extrauterine hematoma
  • hemoperitoneum or free fluid

Multiplanar MR imaging offers a comprehensive assessment of the uterine wall and the peritoneal cavity.

Uterine rupture is most often an obstetric emergency (especially if associated with pregnancy). Hysterectomy is often required as part of management.

Article information

rID: 12723
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Uterine ruptures
  • Rupture of the uterus
  • Rupture of uterus

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Cases and figures

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