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The Presentation and Early Diagnosis of the Rudimentary Uterine Horn

Jayasinghe, Yasmin MBBS, FRANZCOG*; Rane, Ajay FRANZCOG, MBFRCS; Stalewski, Harry MBBS, FRACS; Grover, Sonia FRANZCOG, MD*

doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000161321.94364.56

OBJECTIVE: The key to successful management of the rudimentary uterine horn is early detection. This review of the literature seeks to illustrate important aspects of diagnosis and management of this anomaly.

DATA SOURCES: An English language MEDLINE search from 1966 to 2003 was performed, using the search terms “rudimentary uterine horn,” “accessory horn,” “uterus bicornis unicollis,” “hematometra,” “unicornuate or bicornuate uterus,” and “müllerian anomaly.” References from previously published sources were also obtained.

METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: One hundred thirty letters, case reports, case series, and review articles featuring rudimentary uterine horn were found. Reports before 1966 were excluded because outcomes before the advent of modern diagnostic techniques were not relevant to this study.

TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS: Three hundred sixty-six rudimentary horn presentations (210 gynecologic and 156 obstetric) were found. Noncommunicating horns accounted for 92% of cases (95% confidence interval [CI] 88–95%, P < .001), and renal anomaly was found in 36% (95% CI 29–44%). Contrary to the American Fertility Society classification of uterine anomalies, rudimentary horns may occur without a corresponding unicornuate uterus. The mean age of presentation was similar for gynecologic and obstetric presentations (23 and 26 years, 95% CIs 21.2–24.6 and 124.9–27.3 years, respectively). Presentation in the third decade of life or later occurred in 78% of patients (95% CI 70–84%, P < .001). Sensitivity of ultrasound examination for diagnosis was 26% (95% CI 18–36%). Diagnosis before clinical symptoms occurred in 14% (95% CI 7–23%).

CONCLUSION: Many functional noncommunicating horns present during or after the third decade of life with acute obstetric uterine rupture. Surgical removal before pregnancy is recommended. Rates of prerupture diagnosis remain disappointingly low.

Diagnosis of the rudimentary uterine horn requires a heightened awareness by clinicians, and surgical removal before pregnancy is recommended to avoid acute uterine rupture.

From the *Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; and the †Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and ‡Paediatric Surgery, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Australia.

Address reprint requests to: Dr. Yasmin Jayasinghe, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology, The Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia; e-mail:

Received September 17, 2004. Received in revised form January 9, 2005. Accepted January 26, 2005.

© 2005 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.