If you’re a medical professional, then you know that one of the most important things you can do is assess a patient who has experienced blunt trauma. But how exactly do you go about doing that?
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can be confident that you’re doing everything you can to help your patient.
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In medicine, blunt trauma is a type of damage to the body that occurs when an outside force hits the body without piercing it. This can happen when a person falls, is hit by an object, or is in a car accident. Blunt trauma can cause internal bleeding, organ damage, and broken bones. It can also lead to serious complications such as shock and internal bleeding.
Assessing a patient who has experienced blunt trauma can be difficult because there is often no visible evidence of injury. However, there are some signs and symptoms that you can look for to determine the extent of the damage.
The first step is to stabilize the patient. This means making sure that they are not in danger of further injury and that they are able to breathe properly. Once the patient is stabilized, you can begin your assessment.
Look for signs of external injuries such as bruises, cuts, or swelling. These can help you to determine where the impact occurred and how severe it was. Pay close attention to the head, neck, and chest as these are areas where serious injuries are most likely to occur.
Next, feel for any areas of tenderness or pain. This can help you to identify any broken bones or internal injuries. Gently palpate (press on) the abdomen to check for any signs of internal bleeding.
Finally, take note of any neurological symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, or loss of consciousness. These can be signs of a head injury and require immediate medical attention.
The mechanism of blunt trauma
Blunt trauma is caused by a direct blow to the body or by an object striking the body with force. It can occur when a person is hit by a falling or swinging object, when two people collide, or when a person collides with a stationary object. Blunt trauma can damage any part of the body, but is most likely to injure the following:
The assessment of blunt trauma patients
The first thing that must be done when assessing a patient who experienced blunt trauma is to check for life-threatening injuries. This includes checking for airway obstruction, bleeding, and broken bones. Once these injuries have been taken care of, the patient can be further assessed for other injuries.
The primary survey
The primary survey is a head-to-toe assessment of the patient. It is divided into four steps:
Step 1: Look, listen, and feel for unresponsive patients
-Check for any response to voice or touch
-If the patient is unresponsive, open the airway and look, listen, and feel for signs of breathing
-If the patient is not breathing, begin CPR
Step 2: Control any life-threatening hemorrhage
-Apply direct pressure to any bleeding site
-Use a tourniquet if necessary
Step 3: Assess for possible spinal injury
-Apply a rigid collar if necessary
Step 4: Rapidly assess other injuries
-Look for signs of burns, fractures, or blunt abdominal trauma
The secondary survey
After the primary survey is completed and immediate life-threatening injuries have been treated, a more thorough head-to-toe secondary survey should be performed. The following is a guide on how to assess a patient who experienced blunt trauma, focusing on the secondary survey.
The secondary survey is focused on identifying any other injuries that the patient may have sustained. It is important to remember that patients who have sustained blunt trauma may have more than one injury, and some injuries may not be immediately apparent. For this reason, it is important to take a thorough history and perform a complete physical examination.
history, ask about:
-The mechanism of injury (e.g., car accident, fall from height)
-Whether the patient lost consciousness at any point
-The current level of consciousness (using the Glasgow Coma Scale)
-Any neurological deficits that the patient is experiencing (e.g., paralysis, numbness)
-Any pain that the patient is experiencing
On physical examination, pay attention to:
-Signs of internal bleeding (e.g., abdominal pain, rigidity)
-Signs of fractures (e.g., deformity, tenderness)
-Signs of head injury (e.g., headaches, vomiting)
-Signs of spinal injury (e.g., back pain, neurological deficits)
In conclusion, when assessing a patient who has experienced blunt trauma, it is important to remember the mechanism of injury and to look for signs and symptoms that may be indicative of internal injuries. Be sure to always use caution when handling a patient who has sustained a blow to the head, as they may be at risk for a neurosurgical emergency.