Hemothorax - Blood in Chest Cavity

Hemothorax (Blood in Chest Cavity): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What is a Hemothorax?

Hemothorax (or, haemorrhagic pleural effusion) is a collection of blood in the pleural/chest cavity. The pleural cavity is a thin fluid filled space between the lungs and the chest wall. Under normal conditions the pleural space is filled with some fluid. When the pleural space is injured it can collect blood or air compromising respiratory function in the injured person.

What Causes A Hemothorax?

Hemothorax is caused by blunt or penetrating chest trauma, oftentimes after a car crash, motorcycle accident, gunshot, or slip and fall. The condition itself is usually the result of another injury. Common injuries that may result in hemothorax include rib fracture, damage to parts of the lung, and/or venous injuries. A venous injury arises when a blood vessel is torn when a central venous catheter is placed in the chest cavity.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Hemothorax?

The most dangerous symptom of a hemothorax is compromised breathing. The lungs are unable to expand and contract to breathe. Particularly if you are experiencing rapid shallow breathing and shortness of breath, prompt medical care is important. Other hemothorax symptoms include:

  • Anxiety;
  • Chest pain;
  • Low blood pressure;
  • Pale, cool and clammy skin;
  • Rapid heart rate; and
  • Restlessness.

How Is A Hemothorax Diagnosed?

After physical examination, a doctor may observe decreased breath on the side of your lung that is injured. Signs of hemothorax appear in chest x-rays, CT scans, pleural fluid analysis, and thoracentesis. (Source: New York Times).

How Is A Hemothorax Treated?

The main treatment goal is to remove any blood and air in the pleural cavity. Removal occurs when a chest tube is inserted through the chest wall to drain the pleural space. The chest tube remains inserted for several days or until the lung can re-expand on its own.

If the bleeding continues, surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding. Blood transfusions will also be considered if the loss of blood is significant. Once the bleeding stops and the blood and air drained from the pleural cavity, the chest wall is sutured together and covered with an airtight dressing until it heals.

Compensation For Hemothorax

If you are experiencing a rapid heart rate and rapid shallow breathing after a traumatic incident or a car crash, you may have suffered chest trauma that resulted in a hemothorax. Make sure you are examined and diagnosed by a medical doctor immediately. You may be able to pursue compensation for damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent injury or disability, costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages from missed work, diminished earning capacity, mental anguish and emotional distress, punitive damages, and/or property damage or loss.

Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney for Accident Victims Who Suffered a Hemothorax or Other Serious Chest Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered from chest trauma that led to a hemothorax because of someone else’s negligence and would like to discuss your legal options, contact an experienced Boston Hemothorax Injury Lawyer today for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan has a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience representing victims of chest injuries in southeastern Massachusetts.

For a free, no-obligation case review and consultation call our law firm today at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step towards getting fair compensation for your injuries or for the loss of a loved one. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.

Free Legal Consultation, Brockton Accident Attorneys

We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case.


Our Boston Hemothorax lawyer handles all types of accident claims including those involving motor vehicle accidents, throughout all of Massachusetts including, but not limited to, those in the following counties, cities and towns: Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; Cape Cod, Falmouth, Barnstable and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Lynn, Lawrence, Revere, Lowell, Chelsea, Everett, Dorchester, Roxbury and Somerville.

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