retroperitoneal hematoma; hematoma; saw palmetto extract; serenoa; dietary supplements, adverse effects; complementary therapies; medical history taking


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Family Medicine | Other Chemicals and Drugs | Radiology


Introduction: A middle-aged male with a history of bilateral inguinal hernia repair was admitted for acute abdominal pain. The patient reported that he took prescribed hydrocodone and a saw palmetto supplement prior to surgery. He denied any recent trauma after the procedure, and he was unable to schedule a follow-up appointment with the surgeon or the primary care physician.

Clinical Findings: Diagnosis: The CT angiography of the abdomen/pelvis was indicative of new interval development of a large left retroperitoneal hematoma. Intervention: No emergent intervention was required following the evaluation by the surgery and interventional radiology (IR) departments. Outcome: There was no evidence of overt bleeding over the 3-day hospital course, and his hemoglobin was within normal limits. The patient was stable for discharge as the hematoma would slowly absorb over the next 2 months.

Conclusions: A retroperitoneal hematoma (RPH) has a multi-factorial etiology, such as endovascular procedures and surgeries. Detection and presentation of an RPH serves as a guide in management. There are various modes of detection. However, a multi-detector computer tomography-angiography (MDCTA) provides greater information in regards to the anatomical etiology and extent of RPH. Despite the common risk factors associated with a RPH, there are understudied and underreported influences of medications and herbal supplements, such as saw palmetto, in the development of this outcome. A large portion of the population consume herbal and/or dietary supplements, which belong to the category of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The challenge for health care providers, especially in the primary-care setting, is the unregulated use of herbal supplements and the associated effects. It is imperative for primary-care physicians to recognize these unknown risks and attempt to inquire about supplement use. Future education should be aimed at integrating CAM into the medical curriculum to improve physician-patient interaction in addressing this topic.