A ruptured viscus denotes an abnormal opening in a hollow internal organ. It is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical attention.
A ruptured viscus is a medical term that many of us are unaware of. We can infer that this term denotes a medical condition that involves some form of rupture. Viscus is a term used to denote the hollow organs inside the body. If you refer to a single hollow organ, then it is a viscus. If it is a group of hollow organs in a particular cavity, it is a viscera. The word viscera is usually used to denote organs in the abdominal cavity.
What is a Ruptured Viscus?
Examples of hollow organs or viscus include, the esophagus, stomach, intestines, urinary bladder, etc. These organs have a strong wall with different layers. Such a wall does not give in easily. In certain circumstances, the wall of the hollow organ ruptures, thereby spilling the contents, if any. This condition is known as ruptured viscus. In other words, if for any reason, a hollow internal organ develops an abnormal opening, then the condition is referred to as ruptured viscus or perforated viscus. For example, a stomach ulcer may erode the wall of the organ and cause rupture of the stomach.
Causes and Symptoms
The most common causes of ruptured viscus are injuries or trauma. Even infections and other medical conditions may cause this condition. As far as trauma is concerned, the rupture can be described as blunt or penetrating. While blunt ones are mainly found in case of accidents, where some organs, like the spleen, are crushed and ruptured. In case of penetrating ones, the injury is well-defined and deep enough to cause rupture of organs, like the stomach and intestines. Examples for the latter category are injuries caused by knives and gunshots.
Infections like appendicitis can sometimes cause rupture of the appendix. Intestinal rupture may happen as a complication of typhoid fever. The gallbladder may also rupture, when it gets infected. Apart from infections, a ruptured viscus may also be caused by certain medical conditions, like ulcers, diverticulitis, bowel obstruction, and colon cancer. As in case of the abdominal cavity, hollow organs in other body cavities may also rupture due to various causes. In most cases, the condition occurs in the abdominal cavity.
The symptoms may vary from one patient to another, and as per the location of the rupture. If the condition develops in the abdominal cavity, the patient may develop sudden and severe pain along with abdominal tenderness, stiffness, nausea, vomiting, etc. Even a drop in blood pressure and a fast heart rate may occur. If the rupture causes spilling of the contents of the organ, inflammation of the cavity may develop, leading to fever and chills, and severe life-threatening complications.
A ruptured viscus is a condition that requires immediate treatment. In almost all cases of ruptured viscus, surgery is the most common treatment. Apart from mending the rupture, the surgery takes care of the spills too. In some cases, like ulcers, remedial surgeries (like removal of vagus nerve) may also be done. Surgery can be either open or laparoscopic. In case of a ruptured abdominal viscus, wherein the contents spill out, treatment involves suturing of the rupture, removal of the spill, and peritoneal lavage to prevent infection that can be caused by the bacteria in the spill. The treatment may vary with the nature, cause, and location of rupture.
In short, ruptured viscus is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical intervention. This is very important to avoid complications and to save the life of the affected person.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.