Even though cars today are safer than ever, motor vehicle accidents remain a common cause of fatalities. In fact, in 2020, more than 38,000 Americans died in car accidents. This number represents a startling 7% increase in a single year.
While some drivers die instantly in motor vehicle crashes, many others die later from injuries they suffer. If you have an injury to your spleen, you may survive for hours or even days. Eventually, though, a spleen injury may become fatal.
What does the spleen do?
Your spleen is a small organ on the left side of your torso. This organ plays a vital role in the filtration and regulation of both red and white blood cells. Still, because your liver can perform similar functions, it is possible to live a comparatively normal life without your spleen.
How do car accidents damage spleens?
In a car accident, your body may collide with your car’s seatbelt, an inflated airbag or something else. If the force is sufficient, your ribcage may break, sending bone fragments into your spleen. Alternatively, a blow to your midsection may be enough to rupture your spleen even without damaging your ribs or other organs.
Why is a spleen injury so serious?
If your spleen ruptures, you are at risk of internal bleeding, as a damaged spleen may allow blood to flow freely into your abdominal cavity. Without immediate medical intervention, you may bleed to death rapidly or slowly.
Ultimately, because doctors have a few options for repairing or removing a damaged spleen, getting to the emergency room as quickly as possible is likely to improve your chances of surviving your car accident.