Incidence of arcuate line hernia in patients with abdominal complaints: radiological and clinical features

Hernia. 2019 Dec;23(6):1199-1203. doi: 10.1007/s10029-019-02067-8. Epub 2019 Oct 28.


Introduction: Acute abdominal complaints are a frequent cause for consultation in the emergency department, with a large differential diagnosis. One cause is arcuate line herniation, but this entity is little known and rarely considered during initial analysis. The incidence of arcuate line herniation in this population is unknown.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed. All patients who presented to the emergency department for surgical consultation during an 18-month period with abdominal complaints in who no diagnosis was found after analysis, and who had computed tomography imaging of the abdomen were included. CT scans were reviewed with a focus on abdominal wall pathology and correlated with clinical features.

Results: Eight hundred and ten patients presented with abdominal complaints, 415 of these had CT scans available for review and were included in the study. In 47 patients (11.3%), an arcuate line anomaly was found, and in 14 patients (3.4%), a frank arcuate line herniation (grades 2 or 3) was found. Retrospective correlation with clinical complaints was found in 50% of these patients. Patients with arcuate line hernia had a significantly higher BMI, and diabetes mellitus and aortic aneurysm were more prevalent in these patients.

Conclusion: Arcuate line herniation has a higher incidence than previously thought in patients with acute abdominal complaints and should be considered when evaluating these patients.

Keywords: Abdominal wall defect; Anatomical variation; Arcuate line; Hernia.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen, Acute / epidemiology*
  • Abdomen, Acute / etiology
  • Abdomen, Acute / surgery
  • Abdominal Wall / diagnostic imaging*
  • Abdominal Wall / surgery
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hernia, Abdominal / complications
  • Hernia, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hernia, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Hernia, Abdominal / surgery
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult