Purpose: To describe the anatomical variations of the corona mortis, a vascular anomaly that may lead to dangerous hemorrhage and possible death.
Case report: A 46-year-old male cyclist was involved in a collision with a car, during which he sustained fractures to the left ribs and pelvic ring. Abdominal ultrasound imaging demonstrated a large (12x6x7 cm) nonhomogeneous mass ventral to the bladder, suggestive of a hematoma, which was confirmed on computed tomography. During angiography, 2 branches of the internal iliac artery were identified as sources of the bleeding; these were successfully embolized with microcoils, but the bleeding continued. Examination of the external iliac system found a lacerated aberrant obturator artery arising from the inferior epigastric branch of the external iliac artery, a condition known as the corona mortis. Additional embolization quelled the hemorrhage.
Conclusions: Coil embolization of the internal iliac artery branches is very effective in managing hemorrhage due to pelvic fractures, but variations in the origin of the obturator artery from the internal or external iliac artery may be additional sources of bleeding.