Can CT Tell Us Why There is Bleeding In Abdomen?

Yes, it can often tell us where bleeding is coming from.  There are many causes of bleeding in the abdomen.  Bleeding can occur when a growth or tumor in an organ bleeds.  Bleeding can occur from trauma, either blunt or penetrating.  Bleeding can occur after surgery.  There can be a ruptured aneurysm which bleeds into the abdomen.

What does bleeding look like on CT?

Bleeding on CT is identified when we see fluid which looks denser then simple water.  The bleeding is often greatest within or next to the structure that is bleeding.  Sometimes we can track the blood directly from a tumor which has bled or a injury of the organ.  Other times the blood is more widespread.

Active bleeding on CT

CT can sometimes tell us if there is active bleeding which requires emergent treatment.  This requires giving contrast through the blood vessel (iv contrast).  We will see the contrast spill into the tissues where the bleeding is.  Often an interventional radiologist will perform a procedure to stop the bleeding.

What are some causes of bleeding in the abdomen?

Bleeding can occur after trauma.  This is most common when the liver, kidneys or spleen gets injured.  The organs can get bruised or lacerated.   There will usually be abnormally of the injured organ.  We will often see blood tracking from the injured organ and into the abdomen.

Growths or tumors in the abdomen can bleed.  Some tumors of the liver are more prone to bleed like adenomas.  But any tumor can bleed from any of the organs.  The blood will often be most concentrated next to the bleeding tumor.  Treatment may consist of surgery or treatment by an interventional radiologist.

Bleeding can occur from aneurysms.  This is most common when an aortic aneurysm gets very large.  A rupture of an aortic aneurysm is often deadly.  Other aneurysms can also bleed and can be life threatening.  Aneurysms can be confidently diagnosed on CT.  There are signs that an aortic aneurysm may be on the verge of rupture.

CT is excellent for identifying the cause of bleeding in the abdomen.  We can see the blood and any associated abnormality of an organ or blood vessel which is responsible.  This helps guide treatment.  A prompt diagnosis with CT is often life saving.

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