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Placenta percreta-induced uterine rupture diagnosed by laparoscopy in the first trimester.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21814475     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Spontaneous uterine rupture is lethal in pregnant women. Placenta percreta-induced spontaneous uterine rupture in the first trimester is extremely rare and difficult to diagnose. A 35-year-old pregnant woman, with a history of 2 vaginal deliveries and 2 spontaneous abortions treated by dilatation and curettage, was admitted to the emergency department because of sudden severe abdominal pain; the gestational age as calculated by sonography was 14 weeks. Diagnostic laparoscopy was considered for surgical abdomen and fluid collection that was noted in sonography. During laparoscopy, uterine rupture with massive bleeding was detected; therefore, total abdominal hysterectomy was performed. The patient was discharged without any complications. Pathological analysis of the uterine specimen revealed placenta percreta to be the cause of the rupture. Uterine rupture should be considered in the differential diagnosis in all pregnant women who present with acute abdomen, show fluid collection in the peritoneal cavity. In addition, we recommend laparoscopy for the investigation of acute abdomen with unclear diagnosis in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Dong Gyu Jang; Gui Se Ra Lee; Joo Hee Yoon; Sung Jong Lee
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article     Date:  2011-07-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of medical sciences     Volume:  8     ISSN:  1449-1907     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Med Sci     Publication Date:  2011  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-08-04     Completed Date:  2011-10-05     Revised Date:  2013-06-28    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101213954     Medline TA:  Int J Med Sci     Country:  Australia    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  424-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
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MeSH Terms
Diagnosis, Differential
Placenta Accreta*
Pregnancy Trimester, First
Treatment Outcome
Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology
Uterine Rupture / diagnosis*,  etiology*,  surgery

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Int J Med Sci
Journal ID (publisher-id): ijms
ISSN: 1449-1907
Publisher: Ivyspring International Publisher, Sydney
Article Information
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© Ivyspring International Publisher. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License ( Reproduction is permitted for personal, noncommercial use, provided that the article is in whole, unmodified, and properly cited.
Received Day: 16 Month: 5 Year: 2011
Accepted Day: 6 Month: 7 Year: 2011
collection publication date: Year: 2011
Electronic publication date: Day: 8 Month: 7 Year: 2011
Volume: 8 Issue: 5
First Page: 424 Last Page: 427
ID: 3149421
PubMed Id: 21814475
Publisher Id: ijmsv08p0424

Placenta Percreta-Induced Uterine Rupture Diagnosed By Laparoscopy in the First Trimester
Dong Gyu Jang
Gui Se Ra Lee
Joo Hee Yoon
Sung Jong Lee✉
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence: ✉ Corresponding author: Sung Jong Lee, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, St. Vincent's Hospital, 93-6 Ji-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon, Kyeonggi 442-723, Korea Tel: 82-31-249-7300; Fax: 82-31-254-7481; E-mail:
[conflict] Conflict of Interest: The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.


Uterine rupture due to placenta percreta is very rare, with an incidence of 1 in 5,000 pregnant women 1. It often occurs in patients with a history of Cesarean section 2.

Based on our review of medical literature, spontaneous uterine ruptures mainly occur during the second or third trimester; its occurrence in the first trimester is extremely rare and in such cases, has a catastrophic outcome due to massive hemorrhage 2, 3.

Here, we report the case of a pregnant woman who suffered from a spontaneous uterine rupture due to placenta percreta at 14 weeks of gestation.

Case Report

A 35-year-old pregnant woman (gravida 5, para 2), with a history of 2 vaginal term deliveries and 2 spontaneous abortions treated by dilatation and curettage, was admitted to the emergency department because of sudden severe abdominal pain. At admission, the gestational age was calculated to be 14 weeks by sonography (Fig. 1); she had not received any antenatal care. During physical examination, abdominal tenderness was noted; in addition, her blood pressure was 110/60 mm Hg; heart rate, 98 beats/min; and body temperature, 36.1°C.

Ultrasound examination revealed moderate accumulation of free fluid in the peritoneal cavity. In addition, the placenta was located at the upper anterior uterine wall, the fetal heart rate was 171 beats/min, and uterine contractions were absent. Laboratory analysis showed a hemoglobin level of 10.3 g/dl and an elevated white blood cell count of 17550 cells/mm3. Because the pregnancy was intrauterine and not otherwise, our initial clinical impression was appendicitis; however, in the absence of fever, the diagnosis of appendicitis could not be confirmed. To diagnose the cause of continuous severe abdominal pain, we decided to conduct diagnostic laparoscopy to exclude appendicitis, cholecystitis, and peritonitis.

At the time of laparoscopy, 800 ml of fresh blood and 0.5-cm fundal defect of the uterus were noted (Fig. 2). The placenta and amniotic membrane were seen bulging spontaneously and slowly, and the uterine defect was gradually enlarging, with its size increased to 3 cm as last noted. Because the amount of blood in the ruptured area increased rapidly, we decided to convert laparoscopy to laparotomy. At the beginning of the laparotomy, the fetus was spontaneously delivered through the ruptured site. We preferred total abdominal hysterectomy to conservative management because of the large, fragile, and thin uterine wall with abundant blood vessels on the surface. The total estimated blood loss during the operation was 1000 ml; the patient was transfused 4 units of packed red blood cells and 2 units of fresh frozen plasma. Her recovery was uneventful, and she was discharged on postoperative day 6. The final pathological examination revealed that the chorionic villi had invaded the entire myometrium up to the serosa, confirming the diagnosis of placenta percreta (Fig. 3). The length of the fetus measured from the crown to rump was 9.0 cm, and fetal weight was 69.3 g; these measurements were consistent with 14 weeks of gestation.


Placenta percreta-induced uterine rupture in the first trimester in our patient may be attributed to the previous dilatation and curettage. Placenta percreta is the rarest form of placental abnormalities, with a 5-7% incidence among all placenta accreta cases 4. In placenta percreta, the decidua basalis is partially or completely absent, and the chorionic villi invade the entire myometrium up to the serosa 5.

Uterine rupture caused by placenta percreta mainly occurs during the later period of pregnancy, with very few reports of its occurrence during the first trimester 3. However, it has been reported to occur at as early as 9 weeks of gestation 6. In most cases of uterine ruptures that occur during delivery, the affected site is the lower uterine segment; however, in cases of uterine rupture during the first trimester, the site commonly affected is the fundus, as noted in our patient 7. The uterine ruptures in the first trimester were summarized in Table 1, 3, 6, 8-11.

The most common risk factor for uterine rupture is a history of Cesarean section. Other risk factors include placenta previa; high parity; advanced maternal age; and a history of endometriosis, dilatation and curettage, myomectomy, or irradiation 12, 13. In the present case, the patient had no history of Cesarean section but had 2 spontaneous abortions treated by dilatation and curettage.

Fluid collection during pregnancy is sometimes considered insignificant if the vital signs are stable; however, fluid collection in the peritoneal cavity along with acute abdomen should be evaluated for the differential diagnosis such as appendicitis and hemoperitoneum. The gradual increase in the size of the uterus with advancing pregnancy can cause a delay in the diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The first laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy was cholecystectomy, performed in 1991 14. Thereafter, laparoscopy has been widely used in pregnant women for the differential diagnosis of acute abdomen such as appendicitis, cholecystitis, or adnexal masses 15. In addition, laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy is regarded safe 14, 16. Hence, in vague and emergent conditions, such as in the case of our patient, laparoscopy can be helpful for the early diagnosis of hemoperitoneum due to uterine rupture.

In general, the area of placenta percreta-induced uterine rupture exhibits more vascularization than the site of previous scar-induced rupture; therefore, uterine rupture caused by placenta percreta can be more dangerous than that caused by a previous scar 13. Total hysterectomy is considered in the case of life-threatening severe bleeding or insufficient hemostasis 13, 17.

Conservative treatments for placenta percreta-induced uterine rupture have been reported, such as uterine curettage along with packing, adjuvant chemotherapy, and bilateral uterine vessel occlusion 18, 19. However, considering a 4-fold mortality rate associated with these conservative treatments as compared to hysterectomy, the latter is usually preferred in an emergent situation 5.

In conclusion, this report highlights the significance of a history of spontaneous abortion treated by dilatation and curettage in uterine rupture caused by placenta percreta. Uterine rupture should be considered in the differential diagnosis in all pregnant women who present with acute abdomen, show fluid collection in the peritoneal cavity, and have specific risk factors, even during the first trimester. In addition, we recommend laparoscopy for the investigation of acute abdomen with unclear diagnosis in the first trimester of pregnancy.

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17. Medel JM,Mateo SC,Conde CR,Cabistany Esque AC,Rios Mitchell MJ,Spontaneous uterine rupture caused by placenta percreta at 18 weeks' gestation after in vitro fertilizationJ Obstet Gynaecol ResYear: 201036170320178545
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Article Categories:
  • Case Report

Keywords: pregnancy, first trimester, uterine rupture, laparoscopy.

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