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- Patient Comments: Internal Bleeding: Cause of Bleeding - Experience
- Patient Comments: Internal Bleeding - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Internal Bleeding - Diagnosis
Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions
How is internal bleeding treated?
The initial treatment plan of any patient with internal bleeding begins with assessing the patient's stability and making certain the ABCs are well maintained. This includes making certain the patient's:
- Airway is open,
- that the patient is Breathing, and
- there is adequate Circulation, meaning stable pulse rate and blood pressure.
The definitive treatment of internal bleeding depends upon where the bleeding located, the individual situation, and the stability of the patient. The basic goals include identifying and stopping the source of bleeding and repairing any damage that the bleeding may have caused.
In patients who take anti-coagulation medications and have significant bleeding, medication reversal of the anti-coagulation may need to occur.
What are the complications of internal bleeding?
Depending upon where it occurs, if not recognized, internal bleeding may cause organ failure, shock, and death. For example:
- If there is uncontrolled bleeding in the chest or abdomen, the body may lose enough circulating red blood cells to compromise oxygen delivery to cells in the body. Cells shift from aerobic metabolism using oxygen to anaerobic metabolism. This is only a temporary fix and if allowed to continue, the acid-base balance of the body is adversely affected. If enough cells stop working, the body's organs will also begin to fail. This situation is called shock. If the bleeding is not stopped and if fluid resuscitation and perhaps blood transfusion are not provided, the patient may die.
- Internal bleeding in the brain may cause minimal damage or it may lead to stroke-like symptoms, coma, and death. Symptoms depend upon the location of the bleeding, the amount of bleeding, and whether the bleeding causes increased pressure within the skull, further affecting brain function.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.