trauma


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trauma

1. Psychol a powerful shock that may have long-lasting effects
2. Pathol any bodily injury or wound

Trauma

 

an externally caused injury to the human or animal organism. Depending on its cause, a trauma may be classified as mechanical, chemical, or thermal (as in burns or frostbite), as a barotrauma (caused by abrupt changes in atmospheric pressure), as an electrotrauma, or as a combination of types of traumas—for example, a mechanical trauma combined with a burn. Depending on the duration of the traumatic event, a trauma may be either acute or chronic. Traumas may also be classified according to the circumstances in which they occur—for example, nonoccupational injuries, industrial accidents, or injuries resulting from athletic activity or military combat.

A mechanical trauma may be an open wound, or it may be a closed injury, with the skin remaining intact; it may be uncomplicated, or it may develop such complications as suppuration, osteomyelitis, sepsis, or traumatic toxicosis; it may be isolated (that is, limited to one organ or part of an extremity) or extensive (with injury to several organs or parts); or it may involve a combination of simultaneous injuries to the internal organs and the muscu-loskeletal system. Specific types of traumas are contusions, sprains, dislocations, fractures, compression of tissues and internal organs, concussions, and ruptures. They may be accompanied by hemorrhage, edema, inflammation, or necrosis (gangrene) of the tissues. Severe and extensive traumas are accompanied by shock and may be fatal. A special type is psychic trauma—a term denoting an emotional shock, and particularly one due to traumatic verbal activity. Psychic traumas may lead to morbid reactions in the psychic and autonomic systems, such as depression and neurosis.

Timely first aid and treatment may prevent severe posttraumatic complications. The various types of traumas are treated by appropriate medical specialists.

REFERENCES

See references under and .

V. F. POZHARISKII

trauma

[′trau̇·mə]
(medicine)
An injury caused by a mechanical or physical agent.
(psychology)
A severe psychic injury.
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