We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Grey Turner's Sign?

By Clara Kedrek
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Grey Turner’s sign is a physical exam finding that indicates the presence of underlying bleeding. It is identified by finding bruises located on the flanks or on the lower abdomen, and develops due to bleeding in the region of the body located behind the abdominal cavity. Classically, the sign is associated with a condition called hemorrhagic pancreatitis, although in reality a number of other diseases could cause the sign to develop.

Patients are identified as having the Grey Turner’s sign by finding bruising over the groin, flank, and lower abdomen. Often the bruising is found bilaterally on both sides of the body. The color of the bruising can range from red to yellow to green to purple, depending on how recently the blood appeared in the region. Newer blood typically appears as a red discoloration, but after the body has had time to break down the blood, it causes a green or yellow discoloration. Sometimes affected patients can have some tenderness in the region where the bruising is present, although this is not always the case.

A Grey Turner’s sign develops when blood, typically from the internal organs, escapes from the blood vessels and travels into the layers of tissue located directly under the skin. The proximity of this blood to the surface of the body allows it to be visible to the naked eye. Although most people associate the formation of bruises under the skin with external trauma, the mechanism for the development of bruises that form the Grey Turner's sign is typically caused by internal hemorrhage, instead.

Classically, the most common cause for the development of Grey Turner’s sign is hemorrhagic pancreatitis. In this condition, severe inflammation of the pancreas leads to bleeding from this organ. The blood travels in a posterior and inferior direction, leading to bruising in the lower flanks and inferior abdomen.

Although Grey Turner’s sign is most often associated with hemorrhagic pancreatitis, in reality any form of hemorrhage stemming from the region behind the abdominal cavity can cause this sign. There are a number of other causes of so-called retroperitoneal hemorrhage that can cause this physical exam finding. Examples include rupture of the aorta, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, or bleeding from certain specific parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

The clinical utility of the Grey Turner’s sign is fairly limited for a number of reasons. First, it is considered to have poor sensitivity. In other words, just because the sign is absent doesn’t mean that affected patients don’t have internal bleeding. Actually, only approximately 1 to 2 percent of patients with hemorrhagic pancreatitis develop this sign. Second, the physical exam finding typically does not develop until at least 24 hours after the bleeding has occurred.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.