Background and objective
: Rectus sheath haematoma (RSH) is an uncommon condition that may vary from contained haematoma to life-threatening bleeding. Timely diagnosis and treatment is crucial in this patient population. The aim of the current study was to investigate the results of the different RSH treatment strategies among patients admitted to a surgery department. Materials and methods
: A retrospective analysis of 29 patients treated for RSH in surgery departments of two medical centres from 1 January 2007 to 30 September 2017 was conducted. The patient’s age, sex, ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists; physical status classification system), use of anticoagulants, cause of haematoma, radiological data, vital signs, blood investigations, and type of treatment were extracted. The results were analysed according to the type of treatment. Results
: The patients’ mean age was 67.6 ± 14.3 years, and the mean duration of in-hospital stay was 10.7 ± 6.7 days. All patients were on anticoagulant treatment, and 82.8% of them had spontaneous haematoma. Nine patients (31%) needed transfusion of packed red blood cells with an average of 2.6 units (range: 1–4). Five patients (17.2%) presented with symptoms and signs of hypovolemic shock, and four of them underwent embolisation. Embolisation was successful in all cases. Open surgery was performed in 6 patients, 8 patients underwent percutaneous drainage, and 10 patients were treated conservatively. Two patients (6.7%) died in our series. Both of these patients had type III RSH. Patients in the conservatively treated group had the shortest hospital stay. There were no readmissions due to repeated haematoma or infection. Conclusions
: Embolisation of epigastric arteries is a useful tool to stop bleeding into RSH in patients with unstable haemodynamics. Conservative treatment is comparable to ultrasound (US) drainage of RSH but results in a shorter hospital stay. Type III RSH is associated with a higher death rate.
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