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Know More About Crush Injury

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

Crush injuries result when certain parts of the body are subjected to a high

Crush Injury

Crush Injury First Aid

degree of pressure or force, usually when the body is squeezed between two immobile or heavy objects. Damaged caused by injuries include bleeding, bruising, fracture, laceration, secondary infection, nerve injury, wounds, and/or compartment syndrome (increased pressure in a leg or arm leading to severe nerve, muscle, tissue or blood vessel damage).

Crush injuries result from many different situations that include occupational injuries, motor vehicle accidents, mining accidents and other industrial accidents. For crush injury syndrome to occur, it must involve a large area, such as the entire arm or thigh, and blood circulation towards the area has been obstructed. Moreover, the force or pressure applied must be present for some time before crush injury syndrome can occur. However, not all crush injuries actually progress into crush injury syndrome.

First aid for crush injuries

Initiate basic first aid procedures (register for training here). Quickly survey the scene and look for possible dangers. Ensure your personal safety and that of the casualty. Call 911 or your local services and ask for help.

Assess the condition of the victim. If it safe to remove the crushing force, do so. Keep the victim comfortable and continuously monitor condition. In the past, tourniquet was frequently used for crush injuries but it is not recommended. The victim may appear conscious and alert; however their condition can deteriorate quickly, so be sure to monitor victim closely while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

Crush Injury Syndrome

In case of a crush injury and pressure is not released immediately, such as when the body part is trapped, the severed body part may progress into crush injury syndrome.

Crush injury syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition. In this condition, toxins produced by the body are trapped by the compressive item. Removing the pressure can cause the sudden release of toxins into the system potentially overwhelming the kidneys – the organs mainly responsible for clearing body toxins. Crush injury syndrome may develop within one hour after a severe crush injury, but normally takes around 4 hours.

In addition, releasing the compressing pressure or force can cause fluid to leak into the injured area, resulting in shock. If not properly treated, both crush injury syndrome and shock can lead to fatal consequences. Therefore, it is recommended that experts remove the compressive item. Ideally, the casualty is given fluids and medications by rescue services before removing the compressing force.

Preventing Crush Injury Syndrome

Crush injury syndrome can actually be prevented if persons suffering from crushing injuries are provided with proper first aid immediately. Here are two important things to remember when caring for victims of crush injury:

  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LESS THAN 10 MINUTES and you can safely remove the compressive object, carefully remove the object and provide first aid for injuries sustained.
  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES, call for emergency services and explain the situation. DO NOT attempt to release the pressure or remove the object. Keep the victim warm and comfortable. Provide reassurance while waiting for rescue services.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing and helping victims of crush injuries enrol in workplace approved first aid training (more information).

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A  is a condition in which excessive blood and fluid loss makes the heart incapable of pumping sufficient blood to the vital organs of the body.

Hypovelmic shock

Hypovelmic shock

Causes of hypovolemic shock

When your body loses 1/5 of the blood present in your body, it goes into a hypovolemic shock.

Some of the most common causes of excessive blood loss include:

The amount of blood does not only drop due to bleeding, excessive fluid loss from the following causes may also lead to shock:

  • Diarrhea
  • Burns
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating


  • Cool, clammy, pale skin
  • Sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Little or no urination
  • Unconsciousness

The severity of the shock depends on the amount of blood being lost from the body.


Signs of shock indicated by diagnostic tests include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid yet weak pulse


Individuals that have taken workplace approved first aid training will know how to provide basic care. This portion of the page will describe the steps taught to candidates enrolled in standard and emergency first aid programs.

If you see a person going through a shock, call an ambulance immediately. While you wait, follow these steps:

  • Make sure the casualty is comfortable. Cover him with a blanket so that he is warm—to prevent hypothermia.
  • Lay the person on the ground and elevate his feet above heart level to encourage circulation. Take caution while treating a person with a head, back or neck injury—do not move the person if he has gone through any of these injuries unless it is for his own safety.
  • Do not give anything to drink or eat.
  • If shock occurs due to an allergic reaction, remove the trigger and treat the specific allergic reactions, if you are trained to do so.

Once the casualty is hospitalized, he will be treated by replacing his body fluids through an intravenous line. Medication such as dopamine or epinephrine will be given to encourage blood pressure.

Even though hypovolemic shock is an emergency situation, symptoms and severe effects depend on the following factors:

  • The amount of blood being lost from the body
  • The rate at which blood or fluids are lost from the body
  • The underlying cause—injury or illness—causing the loss of blood/fluid from the body
  • Medication being taken for any chronic illnesses such as kidney, lung or heart disease and diabetes.

Casualties undergoing milder cases of shock recover much quickly than people who suffer severe cases of shock. In some cases, death may also result.


The following are the complications that may result from shock:

  • Brain damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart attack
  • Gangrene of the legs or arms
  • Death, in extreme cases

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