Hemothorax Definition, Symptoms & More

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By lio
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Hemothorax: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.' MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000126.htm.
  • 2. Gomez, Laura Pumarejo. 'Hemothorax.' StatPearls /[Internet/]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538219/.
  • 3. 'Chest Injury Advice.' North Bristol NHS Trust, www.nbt.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/attachments/Chest Injury Advice/NBT002945.pdf.
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A hemothorax is a relatively common complication after a serious chest trauma where blood collects between the chest wall and the lung within the pleural cavity. After a puncture or hit, internal injuries can cause bleeding into the chest cavity. Almost half of the blood in a person's body can fit in their chest cavity, and severe bleeding can cause collapsed lungs and even death.

Injury to the chest accounts for about 60% of traumatic injuries and is responsible for up to 25% of all trauma fatalities. Recognizing the signs of a potential hemothorax and seeking prompt and appropriate medical treatment can save lives.1‘Hemothorax: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.’ MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000126.htm.

1. Symptoms of a Hemothorax

A common symptom of hemothorax is, predictably, chest pain. This may be accompanied by rapid, shallow or difficult breathing. A person's skin may be cold and sweaty and may take on a paler appearance. When traumatic injury causes a hemothorax, a person may go into shock, meaning their blood pressure suddenly drops. Shock can cause shortness of breath and clammy skin as well, and also requires prompt medical attention.

Not all symptoms of hemothorax are physical. If a person seems unnaturally anxious and restless following an accident, it may be warning signs of hemothorax.2Gomez, Laura Pumarejo. ‘Hemothorax.’ StatPearls /[Internet/]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538219/.

Hemothorax

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