Spontaneous perirenal hemorrhage (Wunderlich syndrome): An analysis of 28 cases

Am J Emerg Med. 2019 Jan;37(1):45-47. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2018.04.045. Epub 2018 Apr 21.


Introduction: This study aimed to analyze the characteristics, etiology, and treatment of a series of patients with spontaneous perirenal hemorrhage (Wunderlich syndrome [WS]).

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 26 patients hospitalized for WS in a tertiary urological center between 2011 and 2018. All patients were evaluated for perirenal hemorrhage observed on computed tomography (CT) in the emergency department. Clinical variables (age, underlying diseases, symptoms, shock, and hospitalization period), laboratory test results, and radiological and pathological results were reviewed.

Results: The series included 28 events from 26 patients with a mean follow-up period of 20.2 ± 18.0 months. Flank pain was most common symptoms (92%). Twelve patients (46%) had visible renal lesions and associated hematoma and 14 only showed perirenal hematoma. In six patients with shock (systolic blood pressure < 90 mm Hg), 2 underwent emergency angioembolization. Twelve patients (46%) underwent exploration and total nephrectomy. In the final diagnosis, 4 cases of renal cell carcinoma, 3 of angiomyolipoma, 4 of simple renal cyst, 2 of acquired cystic kidney disease, 4 of sarcoma or other malignancy, 4 of chronic pyelonephritis, and 5 of idiopathic WS were observed. Patient age was associated with prediction of renal cell carcinoma in the patients with WS.

Conclusion: Renal masses are the main cause of WS, and CT is the diagnostic procedure of choice. Old age is a possible risk factor for renal cell carcinoma in etiology of WS. Surgical treatment is preferred in patients diagnosed with renal malignancy and in cases of hemodynamic instability.

Keywords: Perirenal hemorrhage; Renal tumor; Wunderlich syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Flank Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Flank Pain / pathology*
  • Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed