A bruised lung, also known as a pulmonary contusion, can occur due to a chest injury. The blow can deteriorate the blood vessels, which can cause blood and other fluid to accumulate in your lungs. Excessive buildup of fluid in the lungs can minimize the oxygen supply to the body. The bruised lung is a common injury among individuals who experience blunt force trauma to the chest.
If pulmonary contusion is left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening situations. This condition develops due to injured small blood vessels of the lung and not the puncture in the lung tissue.
What causes a bruised lung?
Lung bruising is a common result of car accidents or falling off a bike. Other causes include sports injuries or physical beating. Higher risks of severe complications occur when lung bruising is more than 20%.
Here are some of the serious complications that are often accompanied by low oxygen levels.
- deep lung infections
- respiratory infections
- acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
Bruised lungs may take a few days or weeks to heal, depending on the extent of damage to the lung tissue. If you see no improvement in the initial pain after a few days, see your doctor for treatment.
Symptoms of a bruised lung
- pain in the chest
- shortness of breath
- elevated heart rate
- painful breathing
More severe signs and symptoms can include:
- fast breathing
- cool or sweaty skin
- crackling sound in the chest
- low blood pressure
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
Blunt impact to the chest can cause lung contusion accompanied by other issues including:
- broken ribs
- pulmonary laceration
- collapsed lung
- injuries to liver, spleen, kidney, and other abdominal organs
- broken bones of the spine
- blood in the chest cavity
Treatment will vary according to the damage. Your doctor may suggest different tests to check the quantity of fluid, if any, has entered into your lungs. These tests will also help identify other injuries that may have occurred during the accident.
The tests include:
- chest X-ray
- CT scans of the chest
- tests for oxygen levels
The main goal of treatment is to increase the oxygen flow to the body and mitigate pain. A bruised lung heals on its own, and there are no medications or treatments present that can accelerate the recovery process.
If you find it difficult to breathe, oxygen therapy can help with breathing. If a patient is unable to breathe themselves, the doctor may suggest putting them on a ventilator to aid breathing.
A pulmonologist may prescribe you medication to minimize pain and lung bruises. If there’s fluid in your lungs, you may need several treatments, including breathing support to elevate the oxygen supply to the body.
Looking for a doctor?
If you live in Tomball, TX, or nearby areas and are looking for a lung specialist, schedule an appointment with Pulmonary Medical Consultants by calling 281-357-1300.