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[L. abruptio, a breaking away]
A tearing away from.
Three types of placental abruption occur: a. centralis: a partial central detachment with hidden bleeding between the placenta and the uterine wall; occasionally, blood will invade the myometrium (Couvelaire uterus); a. complete: total placental detachment, marked by profuse vaginal bleeding, profound fetal distress, and rapid fetal demise; a. marginalis: partial separation of an edge of the placenta, as evidenced by vaginal bleeding. The large amount of circulating thromboplastin may cause a coagulation defect to occur, resulting in hypofibrinogenemia.
SEE: Couvelaire uterus; SEE: disseminated intravascular coagulation