Internal Bleeding occurs when there is a rupture of either an artery, vein or capillaries within the body. Sometimes the bleeding is visible and other times not.
Concealed Bleeding is more difficult to recognise than visible bleeding therefore if you are unsure it is better to treat the person as if they are losing blood internally. It does no harm to the casualty, to be managed this way but it could be life threatening if treatment is not initiated.
Remember to look at the important observations that may indicate internal blood loss and a shock response, which include:
Also visible bleeding
For more signs and symptoms to confirm internal blood loss see Internal Bleeding - Recognition.
If you are unsure, assume the worst and treat for internal bleeding. Unfortunately, the untrained medical person can not stop internal blood loss. However, the aim of management is to try and assist in slowing down the loss of blood so the chance of survival is increased.
NOTE: If surgery is needed it is best that the person not consumed anything for minimum of 6 hours prior to having anaesthetic. The reason for this is if the stomach has contents in it they can exit the stomach and be inhaled into the lungs or remain in the throat and cause difficulty breathing during the operation. Neither the patient nor the medical staff need this complication during surgery.
If you need to find out about First Aid for External Bleeding go to External Bleeding Page.
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Photo courtesy of Paula Gillan