GENERICO.ruScienceA 56-year-old woman lived with a dead baby in her stomach.

A 56-year-old woman lived with a dead baby in her stomach.

Another case of long-term gestation of lithopedion has been identified in Brazil

Another case of long-term gestation of lithopedion has been identified in Brazil

An elderly resident of a small Brazilian town on the border with Paraguay learned on her deathbed that she was pregnant. According to local press publications, 81-year-old Daniela Almeida Vera was hospitalized for the first time in her life with complaints of abdominal pain, and at first relatives and doctors suspected oncology, but in the end the source of the pain turned out to be a rare anomaly.

A mother of seven children and grandmother of 40 grandchildren, Daniela learned that there could be even more children in her family. Doctors found that the strange formation in her abdominal cavity, which was initially mistaken for cancer, turned out to be lithopedion – a “stone child”. It turned out that in 1968 the woman became pregnant again, but the fetus died in the womb. Next, an extremely rare confluence of physiological circumstances occurred, as a result of which the miscarriage did not occur, while the woman did not receive poisoning from the decomposition of the soft tissues of the dead fetus, and the fetus itself “petrified” over time.

According to the woman’s children, she had no education, had never sought help from doctors before, was afraid of them and preferred to take a pill for pain. For this reason, the Brazilian did not even notice another pregnancy, as well as its premature termination. Presumably, 56 years ago she could have felt unwell due to the death of the fetus, but did not attach much importance to it.

Doctors tried to save the elderly patient; she underwent surgery to remove the fossilized fetus and other required procedures, but the doctors were powerless. After the operation, the patient died in the intensive care ward.

The development of lithopedion is an extremely rare anomaly during intrauterine pregnancy. If the death of a pre-doomed embryo for some reason does not occur immediately, it grows in size. After the death of a large fetus, the mother’s body becomes unable to absorb it, then protective mechanisms are activated, and the dead tissue undergoes external calcification – this prevents infection of the mother.

It is believed that science knows of only a few hundred such cases. So, in 2013, an 82-year-old resident of Colombia found out that she had been “pregnant” for 40 years; a year earlier, a 35-year-old lithopedion was removed from the body of a 70-year-old resident of India. A similar case occurred in Brazil at the beginning of 2014, also with a woman from a remote area. An 84-year-old patient complained to doctors about back pain, and an examination showed that in the grandmother’s abdominal cavity there was a fetus about 20-28 weeks old. It was found that at the age of 40, the woman became pregnant, but began to experience severe pain, then the local shaman gave her some kind of potion that stopped the pain and at the same time stopped the movement of the fetus. At that moment, the uneducated woman decided that her pregnancy had ended naturally and that the premature baby had been aborted. In 2021, in Algeria, doctors discovered a 35-year-old, 2-kilogram “stone child” in the body of a 73-year-old woman.


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