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01.12.2016 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2016

Minimal invasive treatment of life-threatening bleeding caused by cardiopulmonary resuscitation-associated liver injury: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2016
Pål Aksel Næss, Kristian Engeseth, Ole Grøtta, Geir Øystein Andersen, Christine Gaarder
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

PAN: study design, drafting of the manuscript, and critical review of the manuscript. KE: Study design and critical review of the manuscript. OG: study design and critical review of the manuscript. GØA: study design and critical review of the manuscript. CG: study design in addition to co-writing and critical review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.



Life-threatening bleeding caused by liver injury due to chest compressions is a rare complication in otherwise successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Surgical intervention has been suggested to achieve bleeding control; however, reported mortality is high. In this report, we present a brief literature review and a case report in which use of a less invasive strategy was followed by an uneventful recovery.

Case presentation

A 37-year-old white woman was admitted after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation was immediately performed, followed by advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation that included tracheal intubation, mechanical chest compressions, and external defibrillation with return of spontaneous circulation. Upon hospital admission, the patient’s blood pressure was 94/45 mmHg and her heart rate was 110 beats per minute. Her electrocardiogram showed no signs of ST-segment elevations or Q-wave development. Coronary angiography revealed a proximal thrombotic occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Successful recanalization, after thrombus aspiration and balloon dilation followed by stent implant, was verified with normalized anterograde flow. Immediately after the patient’s arrival in the intensive cardiac care unit, a drop in her blood pressure to 60/30 mmHg and a hemoglobin concentration of 4.5 g/dl were noticed. Transfusion was started, and bedside abdominal ultrasound examination revealed free intraperitoneal fluid. Computed tomography of the abdomen revealed liver injury with active extravasation from the cranial surface of the right lobe and a massive hemoperitoneum. The patient was coagulopathic and acidotic with a body temperature of 33.5 °C. A minimally invasive treatment strategy, including angiography and selective trans-catheter arterial embolization, were performed in combination with percutaneous evacuation of 4.5 L of intraperitoneal blood. After completion of these procedures, the patient was hemodynamically stable. She was weaned off mechanical ventilation 2 days later and made an uneventful recovery. She was discharged to a local hospital on day 13 without neurological disability.


Although rare, bleeding caused by liver injury due to chest compressions can be life-threatening after successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Reported mortality is high after surgical intervention, and patients may benefit from less invasive treatment strategies such as those presented in this case report.

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