Womens Health

50-Year-Old Calcified Fetus Found In Elderly Chilean Woman

| by Kathryn Schroeder

For 50 years, a Chilean woman carried a calcified fetus inside of her body.

The woman, who is at least 90, suffered a fall and went to the hospital in San Antonio, Chile. An X-ray was performed that discovered the 4.4 pound fetus, reports the BBC. Doctors believe it has been there for 50 years.

The presence of a calcified fetus, or “stone baby,” outside the uterus is known as a lithopedion. It usually occurs with an abdominal pregnancy wherein the fetus dies during pregnancy and the body cannot re-absorb the tissue. The body then calcifies it in order to protect itself from infection.

It is not uncommon for the woman to not be aware the calcified fetus exists in her body for decades.

The fetus was "large and developed and occupied all of her abdominal cavity," hospital director Marco Vargas Lazo said. He called the finding “extraordinarily rare.”

There are no plans to remove the fetus from the woman as the risk of the surgery is great given her age. She has been sent home from the hospital.

According to a report by Doctor’s Review, fewer than 300 lithopedians have ever been recorded in medical literature.
Sources: BBC, Doctor's Review

Photo Source: Taber Andrew Bain/Flickr