This sign takes 24–48 hours to appear and can predict acute pancreatitis, with mortality rising from 8–10% to 40%. It may be accompanied by Grey Turner's sign (bruising of the flank), which may then be indicative of pancreatic necrosis with retroperitoneal or intraabdominal bleeding.
- acute pancreatitis, where methemalbumin formed from digested blood tracks around the abdomen from the inflamed pancreas
- bleeding from blunt abdominal trauma
- bleeding from aortic rupture
- bleeding from ruptured ectopic pregnancy
Importance of the sign is on a decline since better diagnostic modalities are now available.
- synd/1386 at Who Named It?
- E. Cullen. Embryology, anatomy, and diseases of the umbilicus together with diseases of the urachus. Philadelphia, Saunders, and London, 1916.
- Bosmann M, Schreiner O, Galle PR (April 2009). "Coexistence of Cullen's and Grey Turner's signs in acute pancreatitis". Am. J. Med. 122 (4): 333–4. PMID 19332225. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.08.032.
Parikh RP, Upadhyay KJ. Cullen's sign for acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2013 [cited 2013 Jul 4];137:1210 http://www.ijmr.org.in/text.asp?2013/137/6/1210/114397