• Pulmonary Contusion

    Definition

    A pulmonary contusion is a bruise-like injury to the lungs.
    The Lungs (cut-away view)
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    A pulmonary contusion is caused by blunt trauma or occasionally by penetrating trauma to the chest wall.

    Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase the risk of pulmonary contusion include:
    • Being in a motor vehicle accident
    • Playing contact sports
    • Gunshot wound to the chest
    • Falls in the home
    • Taking blood thinners

    Symptoms

    Symptoms may not occur right away but can develop and worsen 24-48 hours after the injury. Symptoms can include:
    • Chest pain
    • Difficulty breathing

    Diagnosis

    You will be asked about how you got injured, your symptoms, and your medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your bodily fluids may be tested with blood tests to look for signs of internal bleeding.
    Images may be taken of your chest to look for evidence of damage to lung tissue or other chest structures. This can be done with:

    Treatment

    A pulmonary contusion can also result in complications, such as a collapsed lung or chest bleeding. It may also go along with other chest injuries, such as broken ribs or lung laceration. These injuries can interfere with the ability to breathe properly. Without proper treatment, complications, such as pneumonia, may result.
    Treatment will depend on the severity of your injury and other injuries you may also have. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

    Emergency Medical Care

    Close monitoring will be needed. Emergency care may include:
    Close monitoring will be needed. Emergency care may include:
    • Pain medication
    • Oxygen therapy to improve the amount of oxygen in the blood
    • Mechanical ventilation to take over or support breathing if the lung is severely damaged

    Medications

    Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication may be advised to reduce pain.
    Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication may be advised to reduce pain.

    Prevention

    Prevention will depend on the cause, but may include:
    • Wearing appropriate safety equipment when playing contact sports
    • Wearing a seatbelt when in a motor vehicle to help prevent accident-related chest trauma

    RESOURCES

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

    Trauma.org http://www.trauma.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    Trauma Association of Canada http://www.traumacanada.org

    References

    Chest trauma. Trauma.org website. Available at: http://www.trauma.org/archive/thoracic/CHESTcontusion.html. Updated February 2004. Accessed June 13, 2016.

    Pulmonary contusion. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/thoracic-trauma/pulmonary-contusion. Updated August 2014. Accessed June 13, 2016.

    Pulmonary contusion. Radiopaedia.org website. Available at: http://radiopaedia.org/articles/pulmonary-contusion. Accessed June 13, 2016.

    Pulmonary contusion. University of Connecticut—Korey Stringer Institute website. Available at: http://ksi.uconn.edu/emergency-conditions/internal-trauma/pulmonary-contusion. Accessed June 13, 2016.

    Pulmonary contusion—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T908625/Pulmonary-contusion-emergency-management. Accessed June 13, 2016.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.