Autopsy Q&A by Dr. Stöppler

The coroner's report states the cause of my sister's death "Intra-abdominal hemorrhage" - what does this term mean please?

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD

Answer:

"Intra-abdominal hemorrhage" means bleeding within the abdomen (intra-abdominal cavity). There are multiple causes of intra-abdominal hemorrhage. Some of the possible causes are trauma, ruptures of diseased blood vessels or organs, tumors, aneurysms, pancreatitis, ectopic pregnancy, and complications of surgical procedures. For example, liver cancers can bleed into the intra-abdominal cavity. Similarly, trauma causing a ruptured spleen can bleed into the intra-abdominal cavity.

There are also other potential causes of intra-abdominal bleeding. The coroner who performed the autopsy or your sister's physician should be able to more fully explain the reasons that the condition occurred.

Thank you for your question.


Last Editorial Review: 2/21/2007