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Adrenal hemorrhage

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Hemorrhage and necrosis of the adrenal gland tissue.

Adrenal gland
Adrenal gland


Adrenal hemorrhage can be caused by either traumatic causes or non-traumatic causes. Trauma can be due to injury or surgery to the adrenal glands. Non-traumatic causes include:

  • Acute stress
  • Antiphosphopipid syndrome (APS)
  • Blood thinner medications such as Coumadin / Warfarin or Heparin
  • The spontaneous type
  • Tumors of the adrenal gland

Symptoms and signs

Symptoms and signs of adrenal crisis can include any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain or flank pain
  • Confusion, loss of consciousness, or coma
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue, severe weakness
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low blood sugar
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid respiratory rate
  • Slow, sluggish movement
  • Unusual and excessive sweating on face or palms
File:CT before adrenal hemorrhage occurs.png
CT before adrenal hemorrhage occurs
File:CT after adrenal hemorrhage occurs.png
CT after adrenal hemorrhage occurs


Tests that may be ordered to help diagnose acute adrenal crisis include:


  • In adrenal crisis, you need to be given the drug hydrocortisone intravenous or intramuscular.
  • You may receive intravenous fluids if you have low blood pressure.
  • You will need to go to the hospital for treatment and monitoring.
  • If infection or another medical problem caused the crisis, you may need additional treatment.


Shock may occur if treatment is not provided early, and it can be life threatening.


Bilateral and extensive hemorrhage may lead to acute adrenal insufficiency, shock, and even death.

Also see

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