Isolated unilateral adrenal gland hemorrhage following motor vehicle collision: a case report and review of the literature

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J Med Case Rep


BACKGROUND: Adrenal gland trauma is a rare condition that typically stems from blunt force trauma, and is associated with multiple organ injuries. Alternatively, isolated adrenal gland trauma is extremely rare, accounting for only 1.5 to 4% of all adrenal trauma cases. While isolated adrenal trauma is a mostly self-limiting condition, it is potentially life-threatening, representing a significant cause of bleeding, and/or hypotension due to adrenal insufficiency and adrenal crisis. Due to its rare occurrence, there are no reported guidelines for monitoring and observing isolated adrenal trauma.

CASE PRESENTATION: Here we report on an isolated adrenal hemorrhage from a blunt trauma without associated injuries. A 53-year-old white man presented with abdominal pain after a high-speed motor vehicle accident. An initial evaluation revealed minimal abdominal pain and negative focused assessment with sonography for trauma examination; computed tomography imaging revealed a significant fluid collection consistent with adrenal hemorrhage. He was observed in our intensive care unit for 24 hours, and had stable hemoglobin and vital signs, after which he was discharged. At 1-month follow-up, he reported persistent intermittent abdominal pain, which was completely resolved by the 4-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: This case report demonstrates isolated adrenal gland injury resulting from significant blunt trauma to the abdomen. There are no current guidelines for monitoring isolated adrenal hemorrhage. Recognizing possible adrenal injury in blunt trauma cases is important due to potentially severe adrenal hemorrhage; therefore, we recommend follow-up with serial abdominal computed tomography until the resolution of hemorrhage and symptoms.

Medical Subject Headings

Abdominal Injuries; Accidents, Traffic; Adrenal Gland Diseases; Adrenal Glands; Critical Care; Hemorrhage; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Time Factors; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Treatment Outcome; Ultrasonography; Wounds, Nonpenetrating

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