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Case Study of a 40 year old Tanzanian woman

A 40 year old Tanzanian woman was admitted into the hospital in November 2007 with complaints of having consistent lower abdominal pain for the past three months, along with gradual abdominal swelling occurring the past two years (Massinde, 2009).  When she was admitted into the hospital she had nausea and vomiting in addition to the abdominal pains.

Medical History:

In 2005, she gave birth to a child and the abdominal swelling began occurring shortly after this birth. She was having normal menses, but in August 2007 she began to have irregular vaginal bleeding. This woman had six normal pregnancies before 2007 (Massinde, 2009).


The patient had a positive urine pregnancy test. An ultrasound examination was performed and a picture of the ultrasound can be found in Figure 21. The results of the ultrasound revealed that there was an empty uterus, but there was a living fetus of about 15 2/7 weeks old located posterior to the uterus. In Figure 21, the black arrow indicates the fetal head, while the white arrow indicates the position of the uterus.  A solid mass on the right side of the woman’s body was also seen (Massinde, 2009). This mass contained a calcified fetal spine, which would suggest a nonviable fetus. In addition to the ultrasound, an abdominal x-ray was done to confirm the results. Figure 22 illustrates the results of the X-ray and the position of the lithopedion in the woman’s abdomen. This patient had a live abdominal pegnancy in addition to a lithopedion (Massinde, 2009). These results suggest that a lithopedion does not have an effect on future pregnancies that may occur after the fetus has died and begun to calcify.

Figure 21: Ultrasound of Ectopic Pregnancy

Figure 22: X-ray showing position of womans lithopedion

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