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How Common Are Spleen Injuries After a Car Accident?

Published on Jul 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm in Auto Safety.

Bird's eye view of person wearing a labcoat using a laptop, surrounded by medical forms and a stethoscope

Car accidents can do a lot of damage to your abdominal area. One of the most injured organs in that area, second only to the liver, is the spleen. Though it doesn’t get much attention, the spleen is an important organ that helps fight infections and filters old blood cells from your bloodstream. Any injury to the spleen could be life-threatening and should be treated right away. If you’ve been in a car accident that caused trauma to your left side, you’ll want to know more about spleen injuries and their dangers.

Dangers of a Spleen Injury

The ribcage protects the spleen, which is in the upper left portion of your abdomen. Just like anything else protected by the ribcage, injuring the spleen could become fatal. A spleen injury is caused by a blow to that area, which is why up to 75% of all traumatic spleen injuries are from car accidents. There are a few different levels of severity when it comes to spleen injuries:

  • Bruised spleen. This can usually be treated with rest and a stay in the hospital. Doctors will need to check to make sure there are no tears on the spleen, though.
  • Enlarged spleen. Trauma can also cause the spleen to swell, which thins the capsule-like covering of the organ. This makes it more susceptible to rupture. Much like the bruised spleen, an enlarged spleen will usually go back to normal after rest and monitoring.
  • Ruptured spleen. This is the most dangerous of spleen injuries. Rupturing, or splitting open, could happen from impact or be the result of a broken rib that has punctured the spleen. A ruptured spleen causes internal bleeding that could be deadly. Usually, a blood transfusion is required. Doctors might even remove the spleen if necessary.

Removing the spleen makes you more prone to serious infections since it is a major part of the immune system. You would need to get vaccinated for even the most common diseases, like the flu and pneumonia, because your body can’t fight them off anymore. You would also have to take preventative antibiotics for a couple years, possibly the rest of your life.

Signs and Symptoms of a Spleen Injury

Since a spleen injury can quickly become life-threatening, it is important to know the warning signs. Here are some of the most common:

  • Pain in upper left abdomen
  • Upper left abdomen is tender to the touch
  • Left shoulder pain
  • Dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting

The last three could be signs of internal bleeding, so make sure if you have any of those symptoms, you seek medical help immediately.

Were you in an accident that caused a spleen injury? You’ll need ample time to recover to make sure that a rupture doesn’t occur. That might mean time off work, even though you need money to cover your expenses. Contact us at Solomon Law Group so we can help you get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on healing.

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