Injuries of the Aorta in Children
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Attorney in Sacramento. The heart and associated blood vessels are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. One of the largest arteries is called the aorta. An injury to this important vessel could cause someone to bleed to death quickly. How does this injury occur in children?
Overall Statistics on Injuries of the Aorta
The aorta is the first and largest blood vessel coming off of the heart. Because of its size, injuries of the aorta were universally fatal in the past. Now that research has been done, some people can actually survive this injury. Greater than 90 percent of injuries of the aorta are due to penetrating wounds. This includes stab wounds and gunshot wounds. In auto accidents, between ten and twenty percent of deaths come from injuries of the aorta. Some of the ways this can occur include:
Shear Forces: An extreme tug, pull, or twist on this vessel can lead to shear forces. Extreme shear forces can cause a tear in the aorta.
Crush Injuries: If there are associated bone fractures, a bone fragment could penetrate the aorta. This could lead to a tear and associated internal bleeding.
High Blood Pressure: If someone already has high blood pressure, a traumatic event can cause their blood pressure to spike. High blood pressure combined with a weakening in the wall of the aorta could cause it to rupture. This rupture could lead to rapid blood loss.
Where do the Injuries Occur in Children?
Because children are still growing, their injury pattern is often different. Recently, a research study was performed to look at how injuries of the aorta can occur in children. As mentioned above, penetrating injuries cause the vast majority of aortic injuries in adults. In children, an aortic injury after blunt trauma is actually common. The aorta runs from the top of the chest down to the pelvis. In kids, the aorta is predominantly injured somewhere in the chest following blunt trauma in a car accident. Based on the study, 95 to 99 percent of all disruptions of the aorta in children occur somewhere in the chest. The remainder of the injuries of the aorta happen somewhere in the abdomen.
Associated Injuries of the Spine
When a child sustains blunt trauma in a car accident, there are some associated injuries that could happen. Direct forces to the chest can lead to rib fractures along with injuries of the aorta. Furthermore, based on the results of the study, injuries of the spine are often seen in association with injuries of the aorta. These injuries appear to mirror each other along the area where the seat belt crosses the chest. This serves to highlight the importance of making sure that children are wearing seat belts properly. These spinal injuries can vary in their severity. Some people sustain fractures of the vertebral processes. Others could have injuries to the cord itself. Kids have their entire lives ahead of them and some of these injuries could be permanent.
Help with Bleeding Injuries
When a child has sustained an injury to the aorta, a dye study is often performed to figure out where the bleed is coming from. A radio-labeled dye is injected into the bloodstream and then tracked with imaging. If the dye leaves the aorta, the location of the bleed is found. Then, it can be repaired. Unfortunately, based on the study, about a quarter to a third of children with this injury will pass away. This can be devastating for a family and they may not know where to turn for help. A compassionate car accident attorney in Sacramento could provide assistance for families in need. As a team, a lawyer and family can discuss all of their options and select a course of action that acts in the family’s best interest.
Related Articles by Ed Smith
Sacramento Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Attorney in Sacramento. If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, please call me today at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice. You can also reach me at (800) 404-5400.
I’m a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Take a look at some of our verdicts and settlements.
Image Attribution: The photo at the top of this page is seen on Unsplash and has been shown here with permission
:dr [cs 781] cv