The human abdomen can be injured in many ways. One of the common causes is blunt abdominal trauma. Traffic collisions, fights, or falling from heights often result in abdominal trauma. Trauma to the abdomen can be classified into two categories, blunt and penetrating.
Blunt abdominal trauma refers to injuries caused by a direct blow or impact to the abdomen without perforating the abdomen wall.
In penetrating abdominal trauma perforation happens due to stabbing or gunshot. Penetrating trauma to the abdomen causes harm to skin tissue, small and large bowel, spleen, or liver. This article explores all the aspects of abdominal trauma, its symptoms, treatment options, and many other elements. Let’s start from the basics
Blunt Abdominal Trauma – An Overview
Blunt abdominal trauma, also known as closed abdominal trauma is an injury to the abdomen caused without breaking the skin. The chief cause of blunt trauma to the abdomen is vehicle accidents. However, falls, domestic violence, physical assaults, or sports injuries can also result in abdominal trauma. The severity of the injury mainly depends on the force involved. Blunt trauma to the abdomen can hurt organs and skin tissue. Chief parts that receive the trauma include
- Abdominal wall
- Organs such as the liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas
- Hollow viscus that includes the stomach, small intestine, colon, ureters, bladder
- Blood vessels
Sometimes, blunt trauma to the abdomen may also result in associated injuries to the spinal cord, ribs, or pelvis.
Common Symptoms Of Blunt Trauma To The Abdomen
Symptoms of blunt abdominal trauma can vary depending on the severity of the force and affected organs. However, it will display some common signs like,
- Abdominal pain – Extreme and localized pain in the abdomen is the prominent symptom of abdominal blunt trauma. The intensity of the pain may vary depending on the place and the force of the impact.
- Tenderness – Abdominal tenderness is another sign, a medical professional can assess the tenderness through physical examination. If you have abdominal tenderness, you will experience pain and discomfort during physical examination.
- Swelling or bruising – Visible swelling or bruising over the abdominal area is a common sign of abdominal blunt trauma.
- Nausea and vomiting – Severe abdominal trauma can make a person feel nauseated and in some cases, it can result in symptoms like vomiting.
- Difficulty breathing – Trauma to the respiratory system may result in shortness of breath.
- Bloody stools or urine – Trauma can harm your gastrointestinal or urinary system. You may bleed through your rectum or the presence of blood in your urine indicates severe abdominal trauma.
- Shock – Blunt abdominal trauma can send you into shock, it may result in low blood pressure, heart palpitations, and psychological instability. If this happens immediate medical attention is needed.
- Distended abdomen – Bleeding and organ damage can lead to abdominal distention.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Blunt Abdominal Trauma
The severity of the injury ranges from minor injuries to life-threatening organ rupture. Immediate medical attention is needed in any case of abdominal trauma. Medical imaging tests such as X-rays, CT, MRI, ultrasound, laboratory tests, and physical examination can determine the presence of blunt abdominal trauma and its severity.
The treatment of blunt trauma depends on the assessment of the medical screening. Common treatment strategies include
- Observation – Minor injuries may not require any kind of treatment or medication but observation. Close monitoring ensures they do not get worse.
- Surgery – Blunt trauma can damage organs and abdominal tissue. In the case of severe trauma that results in organ rupture or tissue damage, surgical intervention is the only option for treatment.
- Pain management – Medication to relieve pain and discomfort is another treatment option administered by doctors to manage the pain and discomfort of the injured individual.
- Fluid resuscitation – Blunt abdominal trauma will cause abnormal blood pressure and organ function. In order to stabilize the person intravenous fluid (IV fluid) will be given to the injured person.
- Blood transfusion – Since abdominal trauma can cause bleeding and eventual blood loss, transfusion will be necessary.
- Antibiotics – Abdominal blunt trauma can also lead to infection, giving antibiotics can reduce the infection.
Recovery time from blunt trauma to the abdomen may differ according to the intensity of the injury. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the quality of the recovery process. In summary, blunt abdominal trauma results in various symptoms. Sometimes the injury can be minor to life-threatening. Pay close attention to the symptoms.
If you suspect internal bleeding seek medical help immediately. Getting early treatment can improve your condition sooner than you expect. Any delays in getting proper treatment will lead to complications.