Your car, truck or SUV probably has hundreds of safety features, including seat belts, airbags and crumple zones. While these enhancements reduce your chances of suffering a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, nothing can eliminate your risk. Regrettably, some safety features may contribute to potentially life-threatening injuries.
During a crash, your chest is likely to press against your car’s seat belt. If this happens, you may be vulnerable to a chest contusion. Therefore, if you have chest pain after an accident, you should treat your pain as a medical emergency.
What is a chest contusion?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a chest contusion involves bruising to the chest. After an accident, you may notice a seat-belt-shaped bruise across your midsection. If this bruise is only skin-deep, you may be fine. Still, the injury may extend to your heart or the tissues that surround it.
When is a chest contusion dangerous?
If you have a severe chest contusion, your heart may not perform normally. That is, it may beat erratically or have difficulty pumping blood through your body. Sadly, a chest contusion may lead to a cardiac event, commonly known as a heart attack.
When should you seek medical treatment?
Because it can be difficult to know whether a car accident has left you with serious injuries, it is wise always to go to the emergency room for a full workup. If you have any of the following symptoms, though, you should probably take an ambulance to the hospital:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Confusion, disorientation or dizziness
- Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- Loss of consciousness
- Muscular weakness
Ultimately, because car accidents can cause heart attacks, you do not want to risk your life by delaying medic