Positive Seatbelt Sign

Let’s talk about a + seatbelt sign and what that could mean when taking care of your trauma patients. Always anticipate the types of injuries that you will see such as:

1. Hemothorax, pneumothorax or hemopneumothorax 
2. Clavicular fx’s
3. Blunt abdominal injury with active internal bleeds such as small bowel rupture or mesenteric artery tears. Initial FAST may or may not see so emphasis on pt presentation and repeat FAST exams are key especially in the case of fluctuating patient stability.
4. Traumatic kyphosis with paraparesis
5. Teardrop fx’s L-S spine
6. Chance fx’s-usually related to lap seatbelt use, this mechanism can result in complete ligamentous injury or a combination of bony, ligament, and disk involvement.

Lap belt ecchymosis or “positive seatbelt sign” accounts for approx. 20% of mesenteric, bowel and lumbar spine injuries. 

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About the Author
I am an experienced trauma nurse who has seen a lot of super tragic and gnarly things. On the flip side, I’ve have seen and done a lot of amazing things in my 20 years of nursing as well. I’ve saved lives for a living and I have had the privilege and the honor of holding patients hands as they take their last breath. I have seen SO many patients and their loved ones in their most fragile moments. I am proud of my profession, and for the fact that I have fought so valiantly to be here. Sometimes nurses get burnt out, but I have been blessed to be at the bedside all of my career. I have earned multiple degrees and certifications in nursing. I am the nurse you want at your bedside when you’re critically injured and dying. I put my blood, sweat and tears into being clinically astute & relevant. This blog is to help new nurses, nursing students, paramedics, experienced nurses, or whomever comes across my blogs path and think it is intriguing, educational or inspiring to them. In this career, we are all here to share and help one another grow. I believe in building others up, so they can reach the next level, whatever their goal may be. Carpe Diem & ENJOY!

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