• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Blunt Force Trauma: The Medical Implications Of Getting Hit With A Brick

What is Blunt Force Trauma?

The sixth-leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients under 35 years of age is trauma.Blunt force trauma happens when the body is hit with a blunt object with a force that causes significant damage. The severity of the injury depends on the speed, velocity, size, and weight of the object.

The injury can be a tiny bruise or a “compression” and in extreme cases, it can result in rupture of the organs, rapid internal bleeding, and death.

What are the Causes of Blunt Force Trauma?

Blunt force trauma-Causes

A woman falling, Credits: pixabay


Blunt trauma can happen in any part of the body. The serious forms of traumatic injuries are due to blunt trauma from motor vehicle crashes and pedestrian injuries. Falls are also an important cause of traumatic injuries in the elderly.

The severity of the injuries is related to the mechanism of the injury and the comorbid conditions of the patient. Blunt impact injuries can be classified into four categories: contusion, abrasion, laceration, and fracture.

Common Symptoms of Blunt Force Trauma

Blunt force trauma Symptoms

Abrasion, Credits: pixabay


The most common symptoms of blunt force trauma are

Swelling

Redness

Bruising

Tenderness

Abrasions

The symptoms of blunt force trauma may vary depending on how hard the object was and where it hit the body. If the object hits the shoulder with a minimum force, the injury is minor with a tiny bruise or slight pain. If the force is too large, the pain becomes severe with possibilities of fractures to the bones in the shoulder. If the blunt force trauma is on the head, serious symptoms like dizziness and concussions are seen.

How Do Traumatic Experiences Affect the Brain?

Blunt force trauma

Traumatic experience affects the brain, Credits: pixabay


Thehippocampus, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the amygdalaare the three main areas of the brain affected due to a traumatic experience.

  1. The hippocampus part of the brain is responsible for memory functions and a traumatic injury leads to a considerable volume of reduction in the hippocampus. Individuals experiencing trauma may fail to distinguish the past and present experiences.

  2.  Severe forms of emotional trauma can cause lasting changes in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for regulating the emotional responses of the brain. People with a traumatic injury may exhibit fear, anxiety, and extreme stress in response to stimuli.

  3. Amygdala is the region of the brain that helps process emotions. Traumatic individuals may exhibit hyperactivity in the amygdala in response to stimuli. They exhibit extreme stress and anxiety when they connect themselves to their experiences of events that caused trauma.

How to Treat Patients with Trauma?

Blunt force trauma-treatment

Immediate action required for a trauma injury, Credits: pixabay


When any sorts of injuries happen at home, having a trauma kit may help save the individual from the life-threatening conditions.

A standard, methodical approach should be followed while evaluating trauma patients.

Patients with a Glasgow coma scale score greater than 13, respiratory rates less than 10/min. or greater than 29/min, or patients who need ventilatory support warrant triage to a trauma center.

If a patient has two or more long bone fractures, paralysis, depressed skull fractures, immediate attention is required.

Also, immediate management in a trauma center is required for victims of high-risk auto crashes, falls from heights, motorcycle crashes, and pedestrian accidents

Elderly patients, pregnant patients, anti coagulated patients, and young children should be managed in trauma centers capable of providing specialized care.

Take-Home Message

Blunt force trauma is serious form of injury that causes morbidity and mortality.

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