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Hematoma (cont.)

Hematoma Causes

Hematomas are usually caused by trauma, whether it is the result of a car accident, a minor bump, a cough, or an unknown event. The blood within blood vessels is continually flowing and therefore does not clot or coagulate. When blood leaves the circulatory system and becomes stagnant, there is almost immediate clotting. The greater the amount of bleeding that occurs, the larger the hematoma.

Anticoagulant medications, including aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix) and dipyridamole (Persantine) may be associated with blood clots. Diseases or infections may occur that decrease the number of platelets in the bloodstream or their ability to function. The platelets are the cells that help initiate blood clotting. If platelets are inhibited, bleeding can continue and hematomas can develop and expand. Examples of bacterial infections, autoimmune diseases, and other situations that may lead to hematomas include:

  • Finger infections
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Onychomycosis
  • Hematomas of the ear may occur if an injury causes bleeding to the cartilage structure of the ear. A common complication of ear hematomas is cauliflower ear.
  • Septal hematoma may occur due to nose injuries. A septal hematoma may form associated with a broken nose, and if not recognized and removed, the cartilage can break down and cause a perforation of the septum.
  • Internal bleeding into the abdomen may be life threatening depending upon the cause and the situation and lead to irritation of the lining of the abdomen.
  • Hematomas may occur in solid organs like the liver, spleen, and kidney or they may occur within the walls of the small intestine or colon. Hematomas may also form within the lining of the abdomen or behind in the space where the kidneys are located.
  • Orthopedic injuries or broken bones may cause hematomas. Bone marrow is where much of the body's blood production occurs, and a fracture may cause significant blood loss.
  • Compartment syndrome is an uncommon complication of bleeding and hematoma due to injury. This is an orthopedic emergency as it requires surgery to correct. Symptoms of compartment syndrome include intense pain made worse with movement of the fingers or toes and numbness and tingling of the extremity with decreased pulses in the hand, leg, or foot.
  • Pregnancy is associated with subchorionic hemorrhage about 25% of the time. It is the most common abnormality seen by sonographic analysis in pregnant women. Most small to moderate hematomas regress and do not worsen the patient's prognosis. Blood clots and/or bleeding in the third trimester may be a sign of problems such as placenta previa or placental abruption and is considered a medical emergency.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/15/2015

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