• Vol. 28 No. 6, 863–866
  • 15 November 1999

Haemorrhage into Non-functioning Adrenal Cysts—Report of Two Cases and Review of the Literature



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Adrenal cysts are a rare condition and are usually non-functioning and asymptomatic. Most of the reported cases were incidental findings or discovered at autopsy. However, large cysts have a tendency to develop complications such as intracystic haemorrhage and rupture, which can present as an acute surgical emergency. We report two cases of adrenal cysts with intracystic haemorrhage. One patient presented with persistent non-specific upper abdominal pain, investigations with ultrasound (US) scan and computed tomographic (CT) scan revealed a left adrenal cyst and gallstones. Simultaneous cholecystectomy and adrenalectomy was performed with resultant relief of symptoms. The second patient presented with acute abdominal pain simulating acute surgical abdomen. Preoperative CT scan showed a large cystic lesion in the region of the tail of the pancreas with radiological evidence of haemorrhage but was unable to confirm its origin. The cyst was found to have arisen from the left adrenal gland at laparotomy; left adrenalectomy with complete excision of the cyst was done. Histology showed pseudocyst with haemorrhage in both cases. Pseudocyst is the commonest histological type encountered clinically. We believe the second case is related to pregnancy and childbirth as the patient presented during puerperium and the cyst, even though very large in size (25 x 15 x 15 cm), was not noted during antenatal screening with US scan.

Doran, in 1903, reported the first case of adrenal cyst described by Greiselius in 1670. It was not until 1966 that Foster reported the 220th case.

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