Bleeding to Death from a Scalp Laceration
Any seasoned trauma surgeon can relate a story of a patient who presented only with a scalp laceration and signs of shock (i.e., hypotension, cold and clammy skin, high heart rate). Scalp lacerations can and do bleed profusely. They may go underestimated and unattended because they are often hidden behing rolls of
bandages or do not appear to be sufficiently long or deep to have resulted in significant blood loss in the field.
With the good intention of seeking and controlling more urgent and life-threatening causes of shock such as pneumothorax (air in the chest cavity), hemothorax (blood in the chest cavity), pericardial tamponade (blood around the heart), and abdominal hemorrhage, the examination of the scalp is often the last part of the trauma survey.
Copyright 2006 Insidesurgery.com