Use of Point-of-Care Ultrasound to Facilitate Guidance and Intrauterine Placement of a Foley Urinary Catheter to Tamponade Life-Threatening Postprocedure Hemorrhage Caused by Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Emerg Med


© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Background: Severe vaginal hemorrhage caused by disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) after dilation and evacuation is a rare but life-threatening situation that can be difficult to manage. Obtaining hemostasis in such a patient with heavy vaginal bleeding secondary to DIC can be difficult. One technique involves the use of a urinary bladder catheter inserted into the uterus that is inflated to apply pressure on the endometrium, allowing for tamponade of the bleeding. Case Report: A 36-year-old female gravida 2 para 0 at 21 weeks’ gestation presented to the emergency department after being transferred from another facility for a higher level of care available at our facility, after a dilation and evacuation procedure that was indicated because of intrauterine fetal demise. The physical examination was significant for an ill-appearing female with active heavy vaginal bleeding. Resuscitation was initiated with packed red blood cells, cryoprecipitate, and platelets. Because of her thrombocytopenia, the development of DIC was suspected. Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) was performed and showed a thickened endometrial stripe with evidence of multiple anechoic foci, which were thought to represent intrauterine clots. To tamponade the bleeding, a 30-cc standard Foley urinary bladder catheter was placed into the uterus, using POCUS for guidance, to attempt to induce hemostasis via tamponade of the bleeding after inflation of the catheter balloon. Placement of an intrauterine urinary catheter to enable tamponade can be useful for the management of uncontrolled hemorrhage, but can be difficult to accomplish without use of POCUS for guidance. POCUS enabled us to accomplish accurate intrauterine placement of the urinary catheter and confirmation of a properly placed catheter balloon within the uterus. Why Should an Emergency Physician be Aware of This?: Menorrhagia in the emergency department can be difficult to manage, especially in the setting of DIC. Placement of an intrauterine urinary catheter can be useful in management but may be difficult for the inexperienced provider. POCUS can be used to guide the catheter into place and confirm the location once the balloon is inflated.

Volume Number


Issue Number



e75 - e78

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department

Emergency Medicine





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