What is hematoma? - GO.CARE Blog
What is hematoma?
Author: Chí Hùng
Review Date: August 6, 2018 | Last Modified: February 18, 2019
What is hematoma?

Know the basics?

1. What is hematoma?

Hematoma is generally defined as a collection of blood outside of blood vessels. Most commonly, hematomas result from an injury to the wall of a blood vessel, prompting blood to seep out of the blood vessel into the surrounding tissues. A hematoma can result from an injury to any type of blood vessel (artery, vein, or small capillary). This health condition usually describes bleeding which has more or less clotted, whereas a hemorrhage signifies active, ongoing bleeding.

Hematoma is extremely common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

2. Symptoms

Hematomas cause irritation and inflammation. Symptoms depend upon their location and whether the size of it or the associated swelling and inflammation cause impact on nearby structures.

Generally, the common symptoms of inflammation from hematoma include:

  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth
  • Pain
  • Swelling

Nonetheless, there may be some symptoms not present above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

3. When should I see my doctor?

Medical attention may be necessary for a hematoma if its symptoms are severe or its size continues to expand. For example, hematoma in the brain (subdural) or epidural hematoma generally require prompt medical and surgical attention, especially if they are associated with neurologic problems.

However, everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Diagnosis & Treatments

1. How is hematoma diagnosed?

Examination includes physical inspection along with a comprehensive medical history. In general, there are no special blood tests for the evaluation of it. However, depending on the situation, tests including complete blood count (CBC), coagulation panel, chemistry and metabolic panel, and liver tests may be useful in evaluating a person with a hematoma and to assess any underlying conditions and evaluate whether these are responsible for the hematoma formation.

  • Imaging studies are often necessary in order to diagnose hematomas inside the body.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) of the head can reliably diagnose subdural hematoma. CT of the abdomen is a good test if the medical team suspect a hematoma in the abdominal cavity (intra-abdominal, hepatic, splenic, retroperitoneal, peritoneal).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more reliable in detecting epidural hematomas than a CT scan.

2. How is hematoma treated?

Generally, medical care and definitive treatment of a hematoma depends upon its location, the affected body parts, and the presenting symptoms.

For example, doctors may observe a small hematoma of the brain if the patient is fully awake, while another patient with a head injury may require an operation to save brain tissue. The same may be true with a patient with an intra-abdominal hematoma. If the patient is stable, observation may be appropriate, but if shock develops, they may need surgical intervention.

More information

1. 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 corresponding to 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. In case of inhibited platelets, 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.
  • Septal hematoma may occur due to nose injuries.

More specifically, 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.

Moreover, this health condition may occur in solid organs like the liver, spleen, and kidney or they may occur within the walls of the small intestine or colon.

Also, orthopedic injuries or broken bones may cause hematomas.

Compartment syndrome is an uncommon complication of bleeding and hematoma due to injury.

Pregnancy is associated with subchorionic hemorrhage about 25% of the time.

It is the most common abnormality according to 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.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.

GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.