Blood Vessel Trauma Following Rib Fractures

Blood Vessel Trauma Following Rib Fractures

Blood Vessel Trauma Following Rib Fractures

Blood Vessel Trauma Following Rib Fractures – The ribs serve as an essential structure in the body. They protect the vital organs that sit inside the chest, which include the heart, the lungs, the aorta, and the esophagus. Even though the ribs provide some protection, they are still prone to injury. According to statistics published about bone fractures in the Journal of Injury: 

  • During the study period, about 5,000 bone fractures in a hospital were recorded.
  • About half of the fractures that were recorded at this hospital were of those under 18 years of age.
  • Bone fractures were more common among males than females.
  • Fractures of the upper limbs were more common than those of the lower limbs.
  • Bone fractures that occurred in adults were more likely to require a surgical procedure than those that occurred in children.
  • About 5 percent of the fractures were open fractures.

These statistics show that bone fractures can lead to some severe complications which may require a prolonged hospital stay.

The Role of Blood Vessels in the Body

One of the organs that the ribs protect inside the chest is the heart. The heart pumps blood throughout the rest of the body using a delicate network of blood vessels. There are different types of blood vessels which include:

  • Veins, which carry blood back to the heart so that it can be pumped again.
  • Arteries, which carry blood away from the heart to its destination.
  • Capillaries, which carry blood through their final destination.

If any of these blood vessels are damaged, it can lead to internal bleeding. If not caught quickly, internal bleeding could lead to serious and even fatal consequences.

Rib Fractures and Blood Vessel Injuries

When someone fractures his or her ribs, the blood vessels inside the chest are prone to injury. In addition to the heart, there are large blood vessels that carry blood between the heart and the lungs. There are also large blood vessels that carry blood around the shoulders and down through the upper limbs. If someone sustains serious rib fractures, one of these bone fragments could perforate these blood vessels, leading to severe complications. Some of these include:

  • Large, visible bruising over the injury site
  • Significant pain at the point of injury
  • A rising heart rate
  • A falling blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Chest palpitations
  • A potential loss of consciousness

When someone demonstrates these symptoms following an injury to the chest, it should prompt emergent medical attention so that the individual can be evaluated for potential internal bleeding.

Treatment of Blood Vessel Trauma

Several steps will take place to treat those who have injured their blood vessels following a rib fracture. The most critical step is to stop the bleeding. There are two ways that this can happen. These include:

Cauterization: If the bleed is small, an interventional radiologist could potentially snake a wire through the blood vessel to the point of bleeding. Then, the bleed can be closed without requiring a surgical procedure.

Surgery: If the bleed is massive, a surgeon may be required to open up the vessel and sew it closed manually.

During this time, blood transfusions may be required to keep the blood pressure up and provide adequate oxygenation to vital organs.

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Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. Rib fractures can lead to internal tissue damage. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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