Everyone is susceptible to vascular trauma, or broken blood vessels. Vascular trauma is an injured or damaged blood vessel that is usually the result of an injury or accident and can range from mild to severe. Blood loss, bruises, and broken bones are all common signs of vascular trauma.
Vascular trauma is also known as bleeding, hemorrhage, or vascular injury. You might ask: Is vascular trauma a serious problem? Vascular injury or damage is a major medical emergency. A blood vessel can be pierced, torn, or severed in a penetrating injury.
Both types of vascular trauma can result in blood vessel thrombosis, which prevents blood flow to an organ or extremity, or bleeding, which can result in hemorrhage that is potentially fatal. This internal injury is defined by Tampa General Hospital as follows:
Vascular trauma occurs when a blood vessel sustains either a blunt injury or a penetrating injury. Vascular trauma occurs when an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart) or a vein (a blood vessel that carries blood back to the heart) sustains an injury.- Tampa General Hospital, non-profit, tertiary, research and academic medical center
Vascular trauma is classified into two types. These are blunt and penetrating injuries. When an artery or vein is crushed, pinched, twisted, or stretched but not pierced, this is referred to as a blunt injury. On the other hand, when an artery or vein is torn, punctured, or otherwise pierced, this is referred to as a penetrating injury.
Accidents involving automobiles and bicycles, falls, accidents at home or at the place of employment, injuries sustained during athletic competition, and violent injuries such as stab wounds and gunshot wounds are among the most common causes of vascular trauma. Symptoms of vascular trauma depend on the type and severity of the injury, but pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling, and a lump under the skin are some of the more common ones.
Sometimes a vascular injury can only be identified through a physical exam. When there are multiple injuries, medical professionals jointly decide which issue needs to be resolved the most immediately. Among these specialists are neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and trauma surgeons.
Vascular injuries can often be undetectable. Diagnostic imaging may be needed to determine the kind, extent, and most effective course of treatment for the injury.
Options include angiography, CT scanning, or duplex ultrasound scanning. The type of injury sustained will determine the course of treatment for vascular trauma, with more serious injuries occasionally requiring surgery. This could mean putting a stent in the damaged blood vessel or making it bigger so blood can flow again.
Even though minor vascular trauma frequently heals on its own, it's still crucial to see a doctor. This is because vascular injuries that don't heal right or don't heal at all can leave the blood vessel permanently weak and make it more likely to get hurt again.
A surgical bypass is often needed when a blood vessel needs to be fixed by surgery. For this procedure, a prosthetic (artificial) graft or a natural graft made from a piece of vein from another part of your body, usually your thigh or calf, is used. If the damaged vessel is a vein, it may need a graft, but it can sometimes just be tied off (ligated).
This method is an alternative to open surgery for some vascular injuries because it is less invasive. Blood flow can be restored in some damaged vessels by expanding them using a balloon stent. When necessary, a stent graft can be inserted during the same procedure to help support the vessel from the inside and keep it open.
Vascular trauma can be caused by a number of factors, including injury from accidents, falls, cuts, or violence; a vein or artery being pinched either internally or externally; a bone dislocation; or a vein being pierced, as with IV insertion.
Pain, pallor, no pulse, parasthesias, paralysis, pulsing bleeding, and a large or growing hematoma are all hard signs of a vascular injury. If the patient has these signs, there is a greater than 90% chance that their blood vessels will be seriously injured.
The treatment of vascular injuries will differ depending on the type and severity of the injury. Endovascular treatment, such as embolization or injections, is commonly used, but it does not always cure the problem. Endoprosthesis is another technique that keeps the vessel's lumen open and prevents hemorrhage.
Vascular damage can heal on its own, but sometimes it needs help from a doctor. However, whether you have a minor cut or a life-threatening emergency, there are healthcare providers who can help you. Example of this one is the Division of Vascular Surgery at UPMC which they provide a cutting-edge vascular trauma care.