A crush injury involves any incident where part – or the entirety – of a person’s body ends up run over, buried, flattened or slammed into by a larger and/or heavier object. Incidents can vary from a victim’s foot getting run over by a car, to someone trapped in a collapsed building’s rubble after an earthquake.
Crush injuries can often have long-lasting or even fatal consequences. What are some of the biggest risk factors when looking at potential complications?
Infections and swift death
Up To Date discusses the serious impact crush injuries can have. First, depending on the type of injury, a victim can die within minutes or even seconds. If it is a full-body weight, or a weight over the torso or chest, the pressure alone can kill a victim. If their chest suffers from intense compression, they can also suffocate.
Even victims who are not in danger of dying immediately have different levels of risk they have to consider. Victims suffering from a crush injury to the limbs will have a higher risk of infection. Necrosis and tissue death often occur in the affected areas due to a loss of oxygen and blood, which gives infectious bacteria like gangrene a chance to take hold. This can lead to the necessitation of amputation, or even potentially lethal infections like sepsis.
Potential organ failure
As for crush injuries focused on the torso or trunk, organ failure serves as one of the biggest threats. Organ failure may happen if organs undergo too much stress due to the changes in blood pressure and lack of oxygen. This can occur within minutes, making it another lethal possibility that demands immediate treatment.