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J Am Board Fam Pract. 2000 Mar-Apr;13(2):120-3.

Uterine inversion: a life-threatening obstetric emergency.

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Dayton Community Family Practice Residency, Ohio, USA.



Acute puerperal uterine inversion is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication in which the uterine fundus collapses within the endometrial cavity. Although the cause of uterine inversion is unclear, several predisposing factors have been described. Maternal mortality is extremely high unless the condition is recognized and corrected.


MEDLINE was searched from 1966 to the present using the key phrase "uterine inversion." Nonpuerperal uterine inversion case reports were excluded from review except when providing information on classification and diagnostic techniques. A summarized case involving uterine inversion and a review of the classification, etiology, diagnosis, and management are reported.


Although uncommon, if left unrecognized, uterine inversion will result in severe hemorrhage and shock, leading to maternal death. Manual manipulation should be attempted immediately to reverse the inversion. Tocolytics, such as magnesium sulfate and terbutaline, or halogenated anesthetics may be administered to relax the uterus to aid in reversal. Intravenous nitroglycerin provides an alternative to the tocolytics and offers several pharmacodynamic advantages. Treatment with hydrostatic pressure may be attempted while waiting for medications to be administered or for general anesthesia to be induced. In the most resistant of inversions, surgical correction might be required.

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