Spontaneous common bile duct rupture in pregnancy

Brendan Mcgrath, M. Singh, T Singh, S Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report describes how a rare condition in pregnancy can present with features resembling more common diagnoses in the unwell obstetric patient. Our patient presented in late pregnancy initially with clinical features similar to mild preeclampsia, with proteinuric hypertension, epigastric pain and mildly deranged liver function tests. She went on to develop signs of acute abdomen associated with a persistent tachycardia and hypotension; there was evidence of fetal compromise. Following resuscitation, emergency caesarean section was performed and evolved into a laparotomy. The diagnosis was not clear clinically at this stage, but a retrospective amylase sample suggested acute pancreatitis. There was no clinical evidence of biliary perforation, but ongoing clinical suspicion prompted a CT of the abdomen. This proved unhelpful and our diagnostic dilemma was only resolved by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, which demonstrated a biliary leak. A stent was placed with subsequent improvement in the patient's condition. With anaesthetists increasingly involved in the multi-disciplinary management of acutely sick obstetric patients, our case highlights the need for every practitioner involved in such cases to assess each individual fully, and be constantly aware that the diagnosis might not be obvious.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-174
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Adult
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde
  • Common Bile Duct Diseases/diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/diagnosis
  • Rupture, Spontaneous


Dive into the research topics of 'Spontaneous common bile duct rupture in pregnancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this