What Are The Most Common Traumatic Injuries And How Do ERs Treat Them?

What Are The Most Common Traumatic Injuries And How Do ERs Treat Them?

Jan 06, 2022

A traumatic injury is any sudden physical injury that requires immediate attention at an emergency room near you. Without ER traumatic care, these injuries can lead to the loss of limb and life. The injuries happen in various ways, including motor vehicle collisions, sports injuries, falls, natural disasters, and occupational accidents. In this article, we will discuss the most common ones and their corresponding ER treatment.

Common Traumatic Injuries
They may be due to either blunt or penetrating forces. Blunt injuries are when there’s a forceful impact on the body from the outside. On the other hand, a penetrating force like a bullet or knife will cause penetrating trauma. Let’s discuss the different traumatic injuries in order of the regions where they happen.

Head Injuries
These include a skull fracture, cerebral concussion (brief loss of consciousness after a blow to the head), cerebral contusion (bruising of the brain when it bounces against the skull due to a head blow), and hematomas (bleeding into and around the brain). In very severe cases, people with head injuries lose consciousness and may fall into a coma. There are several signs of neurological deficit that can accompany head injuries or develop later. These include memory loss, inability to concentrate, slow reflexes, and dizziness. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are common psychological sequelae.

To treat head injuries, doctors in the ER first assess the level of consciousness of a person. The Glasgow Coma Scale is an instrument adapted for this purpose. The higher the score, the better. They also assess the entirety of brain functions through a series of clinical examinations. If there are any signs of a brain injury, a brain scan is usually the first measure. Doctors use drugs and surgery to manage head injuries depending on the damage, especially when the brain is involved.

Chest Injuries
The chest houses the heart, lungs, and other structures prone to damage when there’s a traumatic injury. Examples of traumatic chest injuries include:

  • Rib fractures.
  • Hemothorax (when blood pools in the chest).
  • Pneumothorax (an air-filled chest due to lung injury).
  • A hemopneumothorax.
  • A pulmonary contusion (lung bruising).

Any compromise to the breathing or blood flow due to these injuries is life-threatening.
Doctors assess chest injuries using a chest X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. That tells them about the extent of damage and how best to approach treatment. Surgery is a typical course of treatment with traumatic chest injuries.

Abdominal Injuries
Blunt or penetrating injuries to the abdomen can harm the liver, spleen, kidneys, and gut. They may come in the form of lacerations, contusions, and ruptures. Severe blood loss and organ compromise is big issue here. At our ER near you – Altus Emergency Center Waxahachie, doctors assess an abdominal injury using ultrasound, CT scan, laparoscopy (use of a camera to visualize inner structures), and laparotomy (surgery to diagnose an abdominal problem). Treatment often requires surgeries.

Bone, Ligament, And Joint Injury
The bones, ligament and joint, are also subject to injury from blunt and penetrating trauma. Fractures can happen anywhere in the body. Pelvic and lower limb fractures are the most common ones. They may come in the form of open fractures (broken bone pushes through the skin), closed fractures (no skin injury), and greenstick fractures (bone bends but does not totally break, seen commonly in children). Doctors can quickly assess fractures with X-rays, but ligament and joint injuries may need CT scans or MRIs. Doctors may treat these traumatic injuries with a cast, sling, splint, and surgery as the case requires.

Other forms of traumatic injuries include burn, electrical damage, spinal cord injury, and amputation. With every traumatic injury, timely intervention is very crucial. The first 60 minutes after traumatic injuries is known as the Golden Hour, during which medical attention is necessary to increase the chances of survival.

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