Aortic Ruptures with Traumatic Accidents
If you've ever been in a car accident, then you should know what happens when your aorta ruptures. One of the ways the aorta can be torn is in a serious car accident. As you know, the heart pumps blood from the left ventricle into the aorta for distribution to the rest of the body. If there's an aortic rupture, it can cause someone to bleed to death very quickly, making this an emergent injury.
In this article:
- What Happens When Your Aorta Ruptures?
- Aortic Rupture Symptoms
- Management and Emergent Treatment: Urgent Medical Attention
- With the Assistance of a Trained Professional
The heart plays an important role because it pumps blood to the lungs (to receive oxygen) and the rest of the body (to power bodily functions). The first vessel coming off of the heart is the aorta. This large, important blood vessel plays a vital role because it arises from the heart's left ventricle and then descends through the chest and abdomen. Along the way, it releases numerous other blood vessels that carry blood, oxygen, and nutrients to other body areas. If the aorta ruptures, all of this blood can be spilled into the internal body cavity, leading to internal bleeding, which can be fatal. There are a handful of risk factors that make this possibility more likely. These include the following:
- Smoking: Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for aortic rupture. Over time, smoking can cause the aorta to harden, making it less flexible than it normally is. If the aorta starts to harden and becomes less pliable, it is less able to handle changes in blood pressure. This increases the chance that it might rupture.
- High Blood Pressure: Almost everyone understands the importance of keeping blood pressure under control. If the blood pressure is too high, the vessels may not handle this tremendous force against their walls. If the pressure gets to be too high, the aorta could burst. This rupture can lead to fatal bleeding and requires urgent medical attention. If not addressed quickly, it could lead to death.
If someone has an aortic rupture, there are several symptoms they could notice. They might feel a sharp, painful, tearing sensation in the chest, and they could start sweating profusely. Also, they may notice how their heart rate is going up, and their blood pressure is dropping. There are several ways someone could suffer an aortic rupture. Some of these are indicated below:
- Auto Accident: An auto accident predisposes people to numerous traumatic injuries, including a possible aortic rupture. If someone isn’t wearing their seatbelt, they could be thrown forward when their car collides with another vehicle or object. Their chest could strike the steering wheel, leading to a possible aortic rupture. This blunt force against the abdomen or chest could be enough to cause a tear in the aorta to develop.
- Physical Assault: Another way that the aorta could tear in a physical assault. Whether it is blunt trauma, such as a baseball bat, or penetrating trauma, such as a knife wound, the aorta runs the length of the body, making it a large target that is prone to be damaged in an attack. Someone who has suffered any of this trauma should be evaluated immediately.
If someone develops an aortic rupture, this constitutes a medical emergency. Someone will be evaluated quickly in the emergency department and likely will be started on IV fluids and possibly be given a blood transfusion to keep their blood pressure and perfusion status up. After this, the patient will be given an ultrasound to evaluate the patency of the aorta from top to bottom. If an aortic rupture is identified, the individual will be taken to surgery on an emergent basis. A trained vascular surgeon will open up the abdomen or chest and repair any tear in the aorta identified. Once this has been done, the aortic repair will be tested to ensure no leaks in the tissue. Close follow-up will be needed to ensure that the aortic rupture does not return. Someone who has had an aortic repair will need to keep a close eye on their blood pressure and refrain from smoking.With the Assistance of a Trained Professional
An aortic rupture is one of the most serious injuries that someone could sustain. It is vital to ensure the victim receives rapid, proper medical attention. Once this has been done, it is good to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The circumstances of the auto accident should be investigated thoroughly. A lawyer can help fill out the litany of paperwork that comes with a serious injury, particularly if the hospital stay requires a trip to the OR and a stay in the ICU. They can speak with insurance companies about claims as well. An experienced attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries from the negligent parties. Do not be afraid to ask for help in situations like this one.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated for quality and relevancy [cha 8.25.21]
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