Multimodality imaging in secondary postpartum or postabortion hemorrhage: retained products of conception and related conditions

Jpn J Radiol. 2018 Jan;36(1):12-22. doi: 10.1007/s11604-017-0687-y. Epub 2017 Oct 19.


Secondary postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and postabortion hemorrhage are rare complications. Retained products of conception (RPOC) is among the most common causes of both secondary PPH and postabortion hemorrhage. Other less common causes of secondary PPH are uterine vascular abnormalities such as arteriovenous malformations and pseudoaneurysms. These are usually related to a history of a procedure such as dilation and curettage or cesarean delivery. Subinvolution of the placental site is an idiopathic cause of secondary PPH; this condition may be underrecognized and therefore could have a higher incidence than currently reported. Gestational trophoblastic disease is rare but commonly presents as secondary PPH and resembles RPOC in radiologic appearance. The first-line imaging modality for secondary PPH is ultrasound, but computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging may be used if the ultrasound findings are indeterminate. Angiography is an important tool for the definitive diagnosis of uterine vascular abnormalities. Appropriate management requires radiologists to be familiar with the multimodality imaging features of secondary PPH or postabortion hemorrhage.

Keywords: Postabortion hemorrhage; Postpartum hemorrhage; Retained products of conception; Subinvolution of the placental site; Uterine vascular malformation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Adult
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / complications
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pregnancy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / complications
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging
  • Uterus / abnormalities
  • Uterus / diagnostic imaging

Supplementary concepts

  • Uterine Anomalies