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Lung Contusion: Treatment & Recovery Time

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  • 0:04 What is a Lung Contusion?
  • 0:42 Lung Contusion Treatment
  • 2:12 Recovery Time & Prognosis
  • 3:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

While a bruised leg is usually nothing to worry about, a bruised lung will most likely be a cause for concern. Find out why as we go over the treatment, recovery time, and prognosis of lung contusions.

What is a Lung Contusion?

A lung contusion is a term for a bruised lung. The bruising causes excessive accumulation of fluids, like blood in the lung tissue. This makes it difficult for the person to breathe, and in more serious cases can result in low levels of oxygen in the blood and other complications. The main signs and symptoms of a lung contusion are difficulty breathing and pain. The pain namely stems from an injured chest, which was traumatized by something that led to the lung contusion. This could be blunt force trauma from something like a car accident.

This lesson is going to go over the major treatment options and expected recovery time for a lung contusion.

Lung Contusion Treatment

Many contusions don't require any specific therapy. The treatment is supportive in nature and/or based on the prevention of any additional problems while the bruise heals.

As you just learned, one of the major symptoms of a lung contusion is pain. To this end, people may be given analgesics, which is just a fancy word for pain relievers. This will also make it easier for them to breathe since it won't be as painful to do so. Think about it: if you are in serious pain when you try to breathe in or out, would you take nice deep breaths? Probably not. A lack of deep breathing would make it difficult for the lungs and blood to adequately exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, so the pain relievers help alleviate the pain, helping the person take nice deep breaths on their own.

The fluid found in lung tissue as a result of a lung contusion can impair the exchange of oxygen, thus lowering blood oxygen levels. This results in hypoxemia, or low levels of oxygen in the blood. To counter this problem, a patient may be given supplemental oxygen. Like a vitamin C supplement boosts vitamin C levels in the body, supplemental oxygen will help increase the levels of oxygen in a person's blood. This is important because the entire body depends on oxygen for essential life processes.

Sometimes, pain relievers and supplemental oxygen are not enough. In some instances, a person may require mechanical ventilation. This means a machine (a ventilator) will assist them in breathing in and breathing out while their injuries heal.

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