Difference between revisions of "Placental abruption"

(Clinical Features)
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{{Abdominal Pain Pregnancy DDX}}
{{Abdominal Pain Pregnancy DDX}}
*Type & Cross
*Type & Cross
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{{Template:DIC Orders}}

Revision as of 04:52, 6 June 2015


  • Premature separation of placenta from uterus
  • Usually occurs spontaneously but also associated w/ trauma (even minor trauma)
  • Usually occurs at >15 weeks gestation
  • Must be considered in pts who p/w painful vaginal bleeding near term
  • Abruption may be complete, partial, or concealed
    • Amount of external bleeding may not correlate with severity

Risk Factors

  1. HTN
  2. Trauma
  3. Smoking
  4. Advanced maternal age [1]
  5. Prior placental abruption
  6. Thrombophilia
  7. Cocaine abuse
  8. History of C-section or other uterine sx

Clinical Features

  • 'Painful vaginal bleeding (may be absent if retro-placental)
    • Characteristically dark and the amount is often insignificant
    • But up to 20% have no vaginal bleeding or pain
  • Severe uterine pain
  • Uterine contractions
  • Hypotension
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Premature labor
  • Fetal distress
  • Increasing fundal height

Differential Diagnosis

Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy

The same abdominal pain differential as non-pregnant patients, plus:

<20 Weeks

>20 Weeks

Any time


  • Type & Cross
  • CBC
  • Platelets
  • PT/INR
  • PTT
  • Fibrinogen
  • D-dimer
  • Fibrin Degraded Products
  • Pelvic US
    • Sp, not Sn (as low as 24% sensitive)
    • Cannot be used alone to rule-out placental abruption if negative
    • Can rule-out placenta previa
  • If available, obtain fetal heart monitoring
  • Consider Ultrasound: FAST if trauma


  • Fluid resuscitation
  • Transfuse blood products (as needed)
  • Emergent OB/GYN consult
    • If unavailable consider C-section in ED
  • Consider minimum 6 hours observation even if abruption not identified, if mechanism is concerning




  • Neurodevelopmental abnormalities
  • Death: 67 to 75% rate of fetal mortality


  1. Rosen's

See Also

Vaginal Bleeding (Main)