Background: Deep dissecting hematoma (DDH) is a rapidly extending blood collection that splits the hypodermis from muscle fascia, constituting a medical surgical emergency. The natural history of this condition includes trauma (even minor physical injury) shortly before onset of the lesion, occurring in a patient with advanced dermatoporosis. A delay of several weeks between the appearance of a superficial haematoma following a minor trauma and its sudden decompensation into a rapidly spreading DDH has been scarcely mentioned in the medical literature.
Case presentation: We report the admission of a 70-year-old woman under anticoagulation to the emergency department of our hospital for the sudden appearance of a rapidly evolving hematoma one month after a negligible trauma to the right leg. A complete skin examination revealed clinical signs (spontaneous superficial skin haematomas, lacerations, wrinkles, stellate pseudo-scars) of advanced dermatoporosis, especially on the forearms. The initial biological testing disclosed an International Normalized Ratio of 3.15. The clinical aspect of the haematoma, its rapid extension and the cutaneous signs of dermatoporosis on the forearms allowed the diagnosis of DDH. Bedside ultrasound examination was used to eliminate differential or additional diagnoses and to assess the main features of the hematoma (dimensions, existence of blood supply). Due the extent of the lesion and the risk of extended skin necrosis, surgical debridement and hematoma drainage were performed. The operative report confirmed the diagnosis of DDH. Wound healing was obtained spontaneously after three months.
Conclusion: DDH is the most serious complication of dermatoporosis. Given its rapid horizontal extension and the risk of skin necrosis it induces, DDH is a medical-surgical emergency and must be diagnosed early. This observation emphasises that in patients with severe dermatoporosis, on the occasion of a Vitamin K Antagonist overdose, a limb-threatening DDH can develop suddenly, even several weeks after a minor impact.