A Ruptured Spleen After a Car Crash Can Be Life-Threatening
A victim of a car accident—especially if it was a serious one—can suffer internal organ damage as well as other injuries like fractures, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. If he ruptures his spleen, he needs emergency medical care for this potentially life-threatening condition. Even with treatment, the injury could be fatal or could cause life-long complications.
Symptoms of a Ruptured Spleen
The spleen is a small organ under a person’s left rib cage near the stomach. It contains white blood cells that perform the important jobs of destroying bacteria and fighting infection and produces new red blood cells while removing older ones. A layer of tissue covers the entire spleen except for letting in arteries and veins and helps protect the spleen from injury. A ruptured spleen occurs when this capsule-like tissue breaks, allowing blood to spill into the abdomen.
A ruptured spleen is caused by the abdomen suffering a severe direct blow or blunt force in a vehicle accident, slip and fall, or workplace accident. It can also occur in a bicycle accident, sports accident, or a domestic violence or other violent incident. Symptoms of a ruptured spleen include:
- Pain—often severe—in the left side of the abdomen under the rib cage
- Pain in the left shoulder and left side of the diaphragm
Because the person could lose significant amounts of blood with internal bleeding, he could suffer additional secondary symptoms. These could include:
- Blurred vision
- Going into shock and experiencing restlessness, anxiety, and nausea
Treatment Options for a Ruptured Spleen
A ruptured spleen is a medical emergency requiring the victim to be hospitalized. How it is treated will depend on the severity of the tear. A person could need the following medical care:
- Observation. If the tear is small to moderate, a person could be hospitalized for observation to see if the spleen will heal on its own while he is receiving other treatments like blood transfusions and tests to monitor the progress of the healing.
- Surgery. In life-threatening circumstances, a person could need emergency surgery. Surgical treatment could include repairing the spleen, removing a portion of it, or removing the spleen entirely. A person can live without a spleen but is at a higher risk of developing serious infections throughout his life.
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