Couvelaire uterus in a previable pregnancy: Complication in abruptio placenta, case series from Tanzanian tertiary hospital

Document Type

Case Report


Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)


Introduction and importance:

Couvelaire uterus, also previously known as uteroplacental apoplexy. This is a life-threatening condition resulting from bleeding into the myometrium that may extend to the parametrium and peritoneum. Couvelaire uterus is typically associated with abruptio placentae, the premature separation of the placenta. This syndrome can only be diagnosed by direct visualization during caesarean section or biopsy (or both). For this reason, its prevalence is under-reported and underestimated in the literature.

Cases findings :

We present a rare case series of two patients with Couvelaire uterus in previable pregnancy at Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es salaam. This combination is a rare occurrence and there are no cases reported in sub-Saharan Africa to the best of our knowledge.

Clinical discussion and conclusion:

Couvelaire uterus is a rare manifestation to find in a previable pregnancy. The incidence of Couvelaire uterus is difficult to estimate since the diagnosis can only be reached intra-operatively. In most cases it occurs with abruptio placentae which develops due to a disruption in the vessels within the placenta allowing for blood to seep into the decidua basalis leading to premature separation of the placenta and bleeding into the myometrium which may extend to the parametrium and peritoneum. Clinicians should be vigilant when dealing with vaginal bleeding in a pre-viable pregnancy and placental separation is considered as an important differential to avoid the maternal morbidity and mortality that may ensue.


International Journal of Surgery Case Reports

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.