Internal Bleeding (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is internal bleeding?
- What causes internal bleeding?
- What are the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding?
- How is internal bleeding diagnosed?
- How is internal bleeding treated?
- What are the complications of internal bleeding?
- Internal Bleeding At A Glance
How is internal bleeding treated?
The initial treatment plan of any patient with internal bleeding begins with assessing the patient's stability and making certain the ABCs are well maintained. This includes making certain the patient's:
- Airway is open,
the patient is Breathing, and
- that there is adequate Circulation, meaning good pulse and blood pressure.
The definitive treatment of internal bleeding depends upon where the bleeding is occuring, the individual situation, and the stability of the patient. The basic goals include identifying and stopping the source of bleeding and repairing any damage that the bleeding may have caused.
What are the complications of internal bleeding?
Depending upon where it occurs, if not recognized, internal bleeding may cause organ failure, shock, and death. For example:
- If there is uncontrolled bleeding in the chest or abdomen, the body may
lose enough circulating red blood cells to
compromise oxygen delivery to cells in the body. This situation is called shock.
If the bleeding is not stopped and if fluid resuscitation and perhaps
transfusion are not provided, the
patient may die.
- Internal bleeding in the brain may cause minimal damage, but if there is enough to cause increased pressure or if the bleeding increases, enough brain tissue may be damaged to cause stroke-like symptoms, coma, and death.
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