Missouri Blunt Hepatic Injury Attorney
Blunt Hepatic Injury
The liver is one of the largest organs in the abdomen, second only to the intestines, and as such, is vulnerable to injury with blunt abdominal trauma. Blunt force directed at the abdomen can be transmitted to the liver, causing shearing of the tissues, as well as compressive forces, that may result in laceration or rupture of the organ leading to internal bleeding or bile leakage from the liver. Frequent causes of this type of injury include automobile accidents, work related accidents, and falls from extreme heights.
Of note, injury to the liver can result in injury to the gallbladder as well due to their close locations. In addition, the ducts that move bile (a substance stored in the gallbladder and secreted into the intestines to help digest fatty meals) from the liver to the gallbladder for storage are interwoven throughout the tissue of the liver and thus, are susceptible to injury.
With a small injury, a person may not experience any symptoms other than some abdominal discomfort related to the blunt hit to the abdomen. If bleeding occurs, symptoms can vary from right upper abdomen tenderness to signs of shock – rapid heartbeat, fast and shallow breathing, pale skin, and lightheadedness. If the bile ducts are disrupted by the traumatic shearing forces, the acidic bile can leak into the liver tissue, as well as the abdominal cavity, causing significant irritation and tissue injury leading to abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting, and possible feeding intolerance.
Treatment and Recovery
Treatment for a hepatic injury is dependent on the severity of the injury. If the patient has a stable blood pressure, heart rate, etc, they typically are watched closely for signs of active bleeding – which can be seen on imaging. If an active bleed is found, it may be possible to occlude, or block, the blood vessel using a small catheter threaded through the veins from the leg to the bleeding vessel, eliminating the need for major surgery. However, if the patient is not stable or shows signs of shock, emergent surgery to control the bleeding is indicated. With significant blood loss, there is also the chance that you may need a blood transfusion. Also, any sign of bile duct injury or bile leakage may necessitate surgery to repair the ducts.
The prognosis for individuals with a liver injury is good and they typically have a complete and uneventful recovery.
Protecting Your Best Interests
Our goal is to help the survivors of blunt hepatic injury get the settlement they deserve. Our Missouri abdominal injury attorneys are committed to providing the best legal services. Call (314) 322-8515 for a free consultation and learn about the next best step you should pursue.