How to Treat Bruised Lungs


Treating bruised lungs, or pulmonary contusions, is a delicate and time-consuming project that requires attentive medical care and various treatment methods. Pulmonary contusions are very painful and may require special breathing devices during the healing process. While the treatment method may be lenghty, it is actually quite simple with proper guidance.

Doctor examining patient's lungs
Doctor examining patient's lungs (Image: claudiobaba/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Seek immediate medical attention and determine the severity of the bruising. The damage will be assessed using one of the following methods: a CT scan, chest x-ray, ultrasound or an arterial blood vessel test. The test that will be used will be determined by your doctor upon arrival at his/her office or the emergency room.

(Image: AtnoYdur/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Exercise your lungs using deep-breathing techniques to help open the air passages. A combination of coughing and deep breathing with help bring up sputum from your lungs and will help in the healing process. If coughing or deep breathing is difficult to do on your own, you can use a incentive spirometer to help you. An incentive spirometer is a machine that collects blood or fluid from your lungs for you.

A woman praciticing breathing techniques
A woman praciticing breathing techniques (Image: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images)

Step 3

Attach a mechanical ventilation device to your chest if breathing properly on your own is too difficult. An endotracheal tube will be placed into your throat to keep your trachea open and help you to breathe easier. A ventilator will be attached to the tube to deliver oxygen to the lungs. Oxygen may also be delivered to the lungs through a plastic mask placed over your nose and throat in less-severe situations.

Older man with a plastic breathing mask
Older man with a plastic breathing mask (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

Step 4

Ingest pain medication prescribed by your doctor. Even mild pulmonary contusions will be extremely painful when breathing in and out. Pain medication should be administered through an IV in a medical setting. Pain medication can also be delivered through an epidural tube inserted into the back.

Woman gets an IV inserted
Woman gets an IV inserted (Image: Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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Tips & Warnings

  • Mild pulmonary contusions will begin to heal within two to three days and will completely heal after approximately two weeks.
  • In extremely severe cases, a chest tube may need to be placed directly into your chest to collect blood or fluid from the lungs. The tube is inserted through a small incision in the chest and allows your heart to beat normally during the healing process.
  • Treatment should be done under a doctor's supervision only and should never be attempted without proper training.


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