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In this lesson I will explain what a hematoma is and how you should provide care for this patient
A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin. It is caused by trauma so this could be from a vaginal delivery or c-section. In a vaginal delivery trauma to the tissue could be caused by forceps, vacuum or an episiotomy. Any of these can cause trauma to the tissue and cause the vessels to rupture and bleed. In a c-section there could be surgical trauma caused that will cause a hematoma to form because of the bleeding between the tissue. This will cause pain. We have blood where it should not be. The hematoma could resolve on its own with monitoring or it might need to be surgically removed or drained.
Let’s now talk about symptoms for when a patient has a hematoma. The patient might feel a lot of pressure because of the blood filled tissue in the vagina. The pressure discomfort could make them feel like they have to poop because there is pressure on the rectum from this fluid filled sac in the vagina. The patient will have pain that is unresolved with pain medication. Blood is collecting where is shouldn’t be. Tachycardia occurs because the patient is losing blood so the heart is pumping hard to move the low volume. symptoms will involve pain and possibly hemorrhagic symptoms if the bleeding is excessive.There is low blood pressure because of the blood loss and low volume. The hemoglobin is low because the patient is bleeding into a space where it shouldn’t be so the patient is losing red blood cells.
Our management for this patient will be to monitor her for shock and infection. So we need to watch her vital signs, intake and output, and CBC. We need to treat pain as best we can from the hematoma or from surgical removal of the hematoma. Fluids will need to be restored so either blood products of IV fluids will be needed. The patient may need hematoma evacuation if large enough or causing problems. If an evacuation happens of the hematoma then antibiotics might need to be given because it puts the patient at an increased risk of infection since now there is a wound that has been opened.
The patient should be instructed to notify if there is unresolved pain. This will alert nursing to really check for a hematoma. The patient should be taught how to get perineal care after an episiotomy which will include cold packs or ice pads to help reduce the swelling and hematoma. This should be done for the first 24 hours. In this image you can see how trauma can easily be caused by the delivery of the baby. You can see the locations of where an episiotomy would be cut. These spots will be at risk for infection because an instrument has been used to make the cut and trauma occurs which can cause a hematoma at this site. So if a hematoma develops then there will be a collection of blood in this location that would cause the pressure feeling.
A patient with a hematoma will have nursing concepts of perfusion, clotting, and skin integrity.
The key points to really focus on are that hematomas are a collection of blood under the skin. Blood is where it shouldn’t be. Trauma of the tissue is the cause. This trauma could be from forceps, vacuum, episiotomy, or instruments from a c-section caused. Patients will have pain and pressure that goes unresolved with medication and also shock symptoms. Shock symptoms are the hemodynamic changes so low blood pressure and tachycardia. The patient might need to have it surgically removed.
Make sure you check out the resources and images attached to this lesson Now, go out and be your best selves today. And, as always, happy nursing.