Internal Bleeding (cont.)

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How is internal bleeding treated?

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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.

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.

REFERENCE: Longo DL, eta al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Professional. 18th edition. 2011.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/2/2013

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Internal Bleeding: Cause of Bleeding - Experience Question: What was the cause of internal bleeding?
Internal Bleeding - Signs and Symptoms Question: What were the signs and symptoms associated with internal bleeding?
Internal Bleeding - Diagnosis Question: Describe the tests and exams you had to find the source of internal bleeding.
Internal Bleeding - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment did you receive to identify and stop the source of internal bleeding?