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Missouri Blunt Thoracic Great Vessel Trauma Attorney

Blunt Thoracic Great Vessel Trauma

The great vessels within the chest include the main blood vessels carrying the blood to and from your heart, lungs, and brain; injury to the aorta is discussed separately. Injury to these vessels can occur after rapid deceleration due to a tearing force typically at the vessel origin causing complete disruption of the vessel wall, vessel occlusion, or vessel avulsion. Injury can also occur from stretching and shearing forces resulting in small tears that promote blood clot formation. Common causes of a blunt great vessel injury are high speed motor vehicle crashes and a pedestrian being struck by an automobile.

Symptoms and Treatment

In the case of a small injury, such as small tear in the vessel wall, there may not be any associated symptoms initially. However, a blood clot will form and at some point, particularly with subsequent trauma, it can be dislodged and travel to a smaller vessel in the lungs and brain where it will occlude the blood flow. The occluded blood vessel can lead to a stroke or pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of stroke include weakness or decreased feeling on one side or both, difficulty speaking or slurring your words, drooping of your mouth or eye on one side of the face, and difficulty walking. The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include sudden shortness of breath and chest pain.

With a more severe injury, symptoms can include absent or diminished pulses in the upper extremities, shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness. With complete avulsion of the vessels coming to and from the lungs is almost universally fatal with near sudden death. Symptoms of shock may be present with massive internal bleeding – fast heart beat, rapid breathing, pale skin, and lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness.

Treatment is surgical repair and/or stent placement to recreate an intact open vessel. A beta-blocker, such as metoprolol, may be given to control blood pressure and heart rate. A blood transfusion may be necessary with blood loss.


Major damage to the pulmonary (lung) vessels almost always results in fatal injury prior to reaching the hospital. Otherwise, those with successful surgery have a good prognosis. With any surgical manipulation or injury to a vessel it always increases the chances of a blood clot forming which can lead to the same complications as noted above.

Dedicated Attorneys Protecting Your Legal Rights

Blunt great vessel injury can result from an accident caused by the recklessness of others. Each injury case is different and our injury lawyers are ready to give you personalized attention regarding your case. Our St. Louis accident lawyers strive hard to obtain the best results for clients. Call (314) 322-8515 now for a free case evaluation.

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