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Traumatic placental abruption in third trimester

Case contributed by Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard


Trauma. 37 weeks pregnant.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Female


No traumatic aortic injury or mediastinal hematoma. The lungs and pleural spaces are clear. Midshaft fracture of the right clavicle. Undisplaced fracture of the lower sternum. No rib, or scapula fractures.

Abdomen and pelvis

Single fetus with a cephalic presentation, size appropriate for a third-trimester pregnancy. Anterior placenta. Lack of enhancement of the inferolateral (left) of the placenta with some undermining of the placenta inferiorly is suspicious for traumatic placental abruption, involving less than 25% of the placental volume. The liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and adrenal glands are normal. Bowel and mesentery are normal. No free fluid or gas. No pelvic fracture.

Thoracic and lumbar spine

Alignment is normal. No fracture is seen.


  • Right clavicular and sternal fracture.
  • Probable placental abruption involving < 25 % of placental volume.

Case Discussion

US (not available) was also concerning for placental abruption. The patient proceeded to emergency Cesar section which delivered a normal health neonate. Surgical notes indicated fresh blood clots upon entering the uterine cavity and at the placental edge consistent with abruption. 

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Case information

rID: 87273
Published: 2nd Mar 2021
Last edited: 14th Mar 2021
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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