We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Pulmonary Contusion?

By Clara Kedrek
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pulmonary contusion, also known as a lung contusion, occurs when the lung is injured by external trauma. The damage to the lung can cause a range of symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, and problems breathing. Diagnosis of a lung contusion can be suspected based on the patient’s symptoms, but is often best confirmed by imaging studies including chest x-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans. Treatment of the condition focuses on offering patients respiratory support to give their damaged lungs a chance to heal.

In short, a pulmonary contusion can be thought of as a bruise of the lung. Being exposed to trauma — for example, from a car accident — can damage the wall of the chest and the lung tissue located inside of the body. The damaged tissue bleeds, and cannot properly expand with air as the patient breathes in and out.

Symptoms of a pulmonary contusion can vary depending on the severity of the injury. One of the most common symptoms is shortness of breath. Affected patients might need to breathe in at a faster rate compared to healthy people, and might not be able to breathe in as deeply compared to other people. Other symptoms can include pain located in the chest wall, coughing, and pain with breathing. Severely affected patients might not get enough oxygen, and can develop life-threatening symptoms, such as unconsciousness. Often it takes between two to three days before the damage causes symptoms to occur.

Diagnosis of a pulmonary contusion focuses on integrating symptoms, physical exam findings, and results of imaging studies. On examining patients with this condition, doctors or other health care professionals might note that patients appear to be having difficult time breathing. They might have external signs of trauma, such as bruising or bleeding of the skin. On chest x-ray, a lung contusion might appear as a visual abnormality of the lung tissue. A CT scan of the chest is more sensitive in picking up this type of injury.

Treatment of a pulmonary contusion is typically supportive. In other words, there is no true cure for the condition, but the symptoms patients experience from the injury can be alleviated. For shortness of breath, patients can be given supplemental oxygen, administered through a face mask or nasal probe. In severe cases, patients can be intubated in order to ensure they obtain the oxygen they need while getting rid of the carbon dioxide produced by the body. With these supportive measures, the lung is given an opportunity to heal itself and re-establish normal respiratory function.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.