Imaging of trauma in the pregnant patient

Constantine A. Raptis, Vincent M. Mellnick, Demetrios A. Raptis, Douglas Kitchin, Kathryn J. Fowler, Meghan Lubner, Sanjeev Bhalla, Christine O. Menias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The pregnant trauma patient presents an important and challenging encounter for the clinical team and radiologist. In this article, we present several key aspects of the imaging workup of pregnant trauma patients, beginning with a review of the modalities that are used in this setting. Ultrasonography plays an important role in initial evaluation of the fetus but a limited role in evaluation of maternal injuries. Given that conventional radiography and computed tomography are the "workhorse" modalities for evaluation of pregnant trauma patients, radiologists must pay particular attention to radiation dose concerns. Magnetic resonance imaging can be used after the initial evaluation and for follow-up imaging, and safety concerns related to its use in pregnant patients are addressed. At imaging interpretation, radiologists must contend not only with the typical spectrum of injuries that can be seen in any trauma patient but also with pregnancy-specific injuries, such as placental abruption and uterine rupture. Particularly unusual situations, such as a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in a trauma patient, are presented. Although pregnant trauma patients are infrequently encountered, familiarity with imaging findings of injuries in these patients is essential to providing the best care for the mother and fetus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-763
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

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