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was something in the uterus. We were confirmed in this respect by our friend, Dr. Nebel, jun., of Heidelberg, who was on a visit to this country at the time, and who examined the case with us. He was at first induced to suppose that it was the head. We considered that it was the uterus more or less anteverted, the fundus being pressed forwards and downwards, and the os uteri backwards, by the extra-uterine cyst above: farther examinations tended to confirm this view.
She states that the catamenia appeared last in November, during the middle of which month she was attacked with inflammation of the bowels, for which she was treated, and soon afterwards began to have the violent attacks of pain of which she now complains. She felt the child move at the usual time; it evidently formed the mass which occupies the lower part of the abdomen, and its movements appeared unusually close to the surface. During the last few days they have ceased altogether. The above-mentioned attacks of pain have continued to recur ever since at short intervals and with increasing severity.
As leeches had been applied without relief, and as the pulse was quick and hard, she was ordered to be bled to eight ounces, and to take half a grain of morphia immediately.
June 2.-Has been in constant suffering, in spite of leeches and morphia; bowels obstinately constipated, but moved at length by repeated injections and doses of house medicine. Has not felt the motions of the child since the intestines have become tympanitic: still, however, the mass can be felt lying across the abdomen, half-way between the pubes and umbilicus, commencing from about three inches to the left of the median line, and extending to about four inches on the opposite side. On the left side it feels firm and rounded, and so superficial that it can almost be grasped through the abdominal integuments. Face very pale and anxious. Pulse 120.
June 10.-Was easy, and free from pain when we first saw her: the souffle is heard over a smaller extent; in the centre of the space where it is heard it is as remarkably loud as ever, but it gradually becomes indistinct towards the circumference. As she was able to rise we examined her standing: the os uteri is exceedingly high up to the left sacro-iliac symphysis, so that it can scarcely be reached; the cervix is short, the lips somewhat larger than usual, and the whole very firm and immovable. The anterior portion of the uterus, to be felt through the vaginal parietes, is somewhat firmer and larger than usual: on pressing the tumour in the left hypogastrium, this appeared to lie altogether anterior to the uterus. Little motion is communicated to the os uteri when this is moved.
June 20.-Has been in much suffering since last report; much emaciated; complains of a fetid taste in the mouth; bowels inclined to be purged; stools of a whitish purulent appearance; tongue clean; pulse tolerably natural; has continued to pass portions of fibrinous matter from the vagina, mixed with bloody mucus, since last report. The hard globular swelling at the left side of the abdomen is more distinct at times; the hand can almost pass round it: it has the precise feeling of the head; the mass which lies across the abdomen is also more distinct: the souffle is heard over a much smaller space, and is diminished in strength.
June 27.-Much the same, except that, after severe bearing down and tenesmus, she has passed a considerable quantity of blood from the rectum
and vagina. The little prominences on the right side, presumed to be the extremities, are remarkably distinct, like two heels or knees.
July 18.-No material change has taken place since last report; she has suffered from irregular attacks of pain, and has had repeated discharges of blood from the vagina, which always gives relief; is weaker than usual, and feels exhausted from the continued character of the pain; abdomen less swollen; the globular mass on the left side is lower and much nearer to the median line; the little prominences on the right are also lower, and nearer the median line; the whole mass appears much more compressed together and nearer to the pubes; it is extremely painful on the left side, and at the most painful spot the skin is red and inflamed; the bowels, appetite, &c., are natural; pulse feeble, but regular; scarcely any trace of souffle to be heard.
Shortly after this she left the hospital, and for some time continued to enjoy tolerable health, occasionally suffering from severe paroxysms of abdominal pain; the abdomen diminished considerably in size, and the various prominences became indistinct.
In May, 1839, she was again admitted in a state of great exhaustion from constant severe pain. The abdomen had diminished still more, and a portion of the mass had descended between the uterus and rectum; the constipated bowels were moved with great difficulty, but with much relief. The symptoms gradually diminished, and she was discharged in the first week of the following August.
In January, 1840, she returned to the hospital, all her former sufferings being greatly aggravated. The abdomen had subsided still farther; early in February she passed a quantity of putrid purulent matter from the rectum, after which the abdomen diminished considerably. The pain appeared to be chiefly situated in the upper part of the rectum, accompanied with severe bearing down, and on examining per vaginam the mass was felt deep at the posterior part of the pelvic brim: the debility and emaciation increased, and she died early in February. Our notes of the post mortem examination were as follows:
Much emaciated, abdomen concave, but on pressing it the tumour can be felt at the brim of the pelvis. On opening the abdominal cavity, the mass was found adhering firmly to the neighbouring intestines, and on the right side to the soft linings of the pelvis: it was of an irregular form, with spots of livid vascularity in different parts: on the upper and left side of it, fetid purulent matter was seen exuding from a small orifice. The uterus was below, its fundus pushed over to the left side. On separating its adhesions, and attempting to raise the sac from the pelvis, the half-softened parietes gave way, and the decomposed putty-like mass of the fœtus became visible; the cranial bones were at the left side; the feet were still distinct on the right side; the whole was immersed in a quantity of thick fetid pus, and there were no traces either of umbilical cord or placenta.
Cases of ventral pregnancy have been recorded where the child has remained in the mother's abdomen without producing any dangerous symptoms, and where she has again become pregnant in the natural way. The earliest instance of this sort was recorded so long ago as by Albucasis. A very interesting case of this nature is described by Mr. Bard of New
York. (Med. Obs. and Inquiries, vol. ii. p. 369.) It was the patient's second pregnancy; at the end of nine months she had pains, which after a time went off; the tumour gradually diminished somewhat, and in about five months after she conceived again, and in due time was delivered, after an easy labour, of a healthy child. "Five days after delivery she was seized with a violent fever, a purging, suppression, pain in the tumour, and profuse fetid sweats:" an abscess formed in the abdomen, which was opened, and a vast quantity of extremely fetid matter was discharged; the opening was enlarged, and a fœtus of the full size was extracted. Dr. Bard "imagined the placenta and funis umbilicalis were dissolved in the pus, of which there was a great quantity."
It becomes a question of deep interest whether it be really possible to save the patient and the child in cases of ventral pregnancy, by performing gastrotomy. The separation of the placenta from the walls of the cyst can only be effected with much difficulty and hazard; indeed, we are at a loss to conceive how it can be moved with any degree of safety, where the child has been found alive. The attachment in these cases was more than usually firm, and it has been left to undergo that process of solution which has been described in Mr. Bard's case. In all the cases where gastrotomy has been performed some time after the child's death, little or no trace of the placenta has been found, but in its place a quantity of illconditioned purulent matter, which was excessively fetid.
The fourth species of extra-uterine pregnancy, which M. Breschet has described as taking place in the substance of the uterus, is of very rare occurrence, four cases only having been recorded by him. (Med. Chir. Trans. vol. xiii.) M. Breschet has attempted a variety of explanations of this singular anomaly, but without success; and from the circumstance of the cyst having always been found situated in the fundus to one side, the Fallopian tube of which was closed at its uterine extremity, we think that there can be little doubt of its having been a modification of tubarian pregnancy, where the ovum had been obstructed at that portion of the Fallopian tube where it passes obliquely through the wall of the uterus: in one case the tube appears to have given way at this part, and the ovum to have insinuated itself between the uterus and peritoneum. In these cases the sac ruptured at about the same period as in tubarian pregnancy, except in one instance, where she went five months. A rather inexplicable case of extra-uterine pregnancy has been recorded by Mr. Hay, of Leeds (Med. Obs. and Inquiries, vol. iii.,) where a full grown fœtus was found enclosed in a large sac, which filled the abdominal cavity, and which communicated inferiorly with the uterus. On tracing the umbilical cord, "we were led," says Mr. Hay, "to a large aperture in the right side of the inferior globular sac already mentioned, from which that which contained the foetus seemed to have its origin. This inferior sac we now found to be the uterus, containing a very thick placenta, which adhered very firmly to about three-fourths of its internal surface, having the navel string attached to its centre, and this centre corresponded nearly with the centre of the fundus uteri. The placenta filled up the greatest part of the aperture of communication between the uterus and sac. Fallopian tube on the left side was very small; the place of that on the right was occupied by the beginning or orifice of the sac." (Op. cit.)
This would seem to have been a case of pregnancy in the substance of the uterus, and where a portion of the ovum had burst its way into the cavity of the uterus lined with decidua, to which it adhered; the other portion, containing the embryo, distended the uterine parietes in a contrary direction, and thus formed the large sac which communicated with the cavity of the uterus.
RETROVERSION OF THE UTERUS.
DURING the earlier months of pregnancy the uterus is liable, although rarely, to a peculiar species of displacement, called retroversion, in which the fundus is forced downwards and backwards into the hollow of the sacrum, between the rectum and posterior wall of the vagina, and its os and cervix are carried forwards and upwards behind the symphysis pubis.
Retroversion of the uterus appears to have been known to the ancients, as we find it alluded to by Hippocrates (De Nat. Mulieb. sect. 5,) and Philumenus (Histoire de la Chirurg. par Dujardin and Peyrhille, t. ii. p. 280.) Etius, who has quoted the works of the celebrated Aspasia, describes this displacement of the uterus very exactly, and gives rules for introducing two fingers into the rectum, in order to remedy it. Rod. a Castro, who wrote in the sixteenth century, in his work on the diseases of women, quotes what Hippocrates had written on the subject of this displacement; and it is astonishing that no further notice was taken of it
until the eighteenth century, when it excited considerable attention among accoucheurs. (Martin le Jeune, p. 137.) Gregoire appears to have been the first who gave a good description of it; his pupil, Mr. W. Wall, on his return to England, met with what he considered to be a case of this displacement, and" not being able to restore the uterus to its natural position, requested the advice of Dr. W. Hunter. On passing his finger between the os uteri and symphysis pubis, and thus removing, in some degree, the pressure upon the neck of the bladder, a considerable quantity of urine was discharged, but he was unable to return the uterus to its natural situation, and the patient gradually sunk. The bladder was found immensely distended; the lower part of it, which is united with the vagina and cervix uteri, and into which the ureters are inserted, was raised up as high as the brim of the pelvis by a large round
a a Half the bladder on each side turned over the spine of the os ilium. Anterior extremity of the vertical incision by which the bladder was opened. c One turn of the rectum, which was seen at the posterior end
of the same incision. W. Hunter.