One of the most life-threatening injuries a person can suffer in a motor vehicle accident is a rupture of the thoracic aorta, the main artery of the body that channels oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This injury is usually the result to blunt trauma to the chest in a car accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident.
In 75 to 90 percent of cases, it causes immediate death. Rupture of the aorta is responsible for almost one in every five in motor vehicle accident fatalities. Only 15 to 20 percent of aortic rupture victims reach the hospital alive. Emergency room personnel all too often fail to diagnose the ruptured aorta and the patient dies.
Aortic Rupture Symptoms
These are some symptoms that could indicate a ruptured aorta.
- Acute chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Widening of the mediastinum (central compartment of the thoracic cavity) or of the aortic shown on a chest x-ray
- A variation in pulse, and/or difference in blood pressure between the right and left arm.
Treatment for a Ruptured Aorta
The only treatment for a ruptured aorta is surgery. Sometimes immediate surgery is risky because of other injuries the patient has suffered in the accident. The forces that cause injury to the aorta are extremely powerful and often cause other immediate life threatening injuries which must be treated before risking heart surgery.
Elevated blood pressure or any procedure that might cause the patient to gag or vomit should be avoided. For example, using of a nasogastric tube to remove blood from the stomach could cause straining from gagging or vomiting that might further damage the aorta. So even if the victim is lucky enough to make it to the hospital and the ER staff is astute enough to identify the rupture, other factors may impede their ability to treat the problem.
Making a Claim for Damage to the Aorta or Wrongful Death from Aortic Rupture
If a ruptured aorta has robbed you of a family member, or if you are one of the lucky few who survived this traumatic injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your losses. Your best option is to consult with a personal injury attorney who can investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident as well as the treatment provided in the emergency room, if applicable.
Jim Dodson is an experienced attorney in Florida’s Tampa Bay area. He will make himself available to review the records pertaining to the accident and the subsequent treatment of the ruptured aorta to determine if there was negligence involved and if so, will help you establish a claim for compensation. There is never a charge for a consultation regarding your case. You can call him anytime at 888-207-0905.