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Internal bleeding is bleeding occurring inside the body. It can be a serious medical emergency depending on where it occurs (e.g. brain, stomach, lungs), and can potentially cause death and cardiac arrest if proper medical treatment is not received quickly.

Contents

Causes

Internal bleeding may be caused by traumatic injury such as can occur with high speed deceleration in an automobile accident, or by blood vessel rupture from high blood pressure. Also, internal bleeding can be caused by hitting or running against a sharp object in that area.[1] Some diseases may also cause internal bleeding, such as the Filovirus Ebola. This infection, together with similar infections such as the Marburg virus, is fortunately rare. The most common cause of internal bleeding is carcinoma (cancer), either of the gastro-intestinal tract or of the lung, or more rarely of other organs such as the prostate, pancreas or kidney. Other diseases linked to internal bleeding include scurvy, hepatoma, liver cancer, Autoimmune Thrombocytopenia, ectopic pregnancy, malignant hypothermia, ovarian cysts, Vitamin K Deficiency, and hemophilia. Some medication interactions may also cause internal bleeding.[1]

Prognosis

Internal bleeding can be serious for two reasons:

  • the blood can compress organs and cause their disfunction (as can occur in haematoma)
  • when it does not stop spontaneously, the loss of blood will cause hemorrhagic shock,[2] which can lead to brain damage and death.

Terminology

Internal bleedings are usually called hemorrhage, even though the term is general to all kinds of bleedings.

A minor case of internal bleeding results in ecchymosis, or a bruise: blood expands under the skin, causing discoloration.

Diagnosis

Medical investigation is necessary to identify internal bleeding. The external signs are general signs of hypovolemic shock (see the article about shock for more information).

Notes








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