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Articles Posted in cardiac contusions

Management of Blunt Trauma Chest Injuries

Management of Blunt Trauma Chest Injuries

Management of Blunt Trauma Chest Injuries

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Chest Trauma Lawyer. Patients who seem clinically stable and have no apparent injury but have suffered a high energy blunt trauma injury from rapid deceleration, such as in an automobile accident, are at risk of having severe injury to the chest.  A portable chest x-ray is part of the initial evaluation.  If this is normal and there are no other injuries, a regular chest x-ray including lateral x-ray should be performed.  A CT scan of the chest is done if there are any findings of suspicion on chest x-ray.

An EKG is performed on all patients who have sustained chest trauma to the front of the chest, patients who have a history of heart disease, and in the elderly.  Patients who have no findings on any of the above evaluations and are otherwise stable, may be sent home.  They should be told of the possibility of delayed issues and told to return to the emergency department immediately if they develop problems breathing, lightheadedness, or severe pain in the chest.

Cardiac Injuries

A cardiac contusion should be evaluated with an EKG in patients who have sustained a blunt trauma to the chest and have the following findings:

  • Fracture of the sternum
  • Pain or tenderness over the mid-chest area
  • A history of heart disease
  • Rollover, high speed collision, or a fatality in the accident
  • Signs of ongoing heart disease

If there are cardiac arhythmias, the patient should be watched via cardiac monitoring and may need an echocardiogram. Continue reading

What is Blunt Cardiac Contusion?

What is Blunt Cardiac Contusion?

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Crash Lawyer. A blunt cardiac injury or BCI is an injury to the cardiac tissue from a blunt trauma to the chest.  It usually results from trauma in a motor vehicle accident in which the chest strikes the steering wheel or dashboard of the car.  It can range from being a clinically silent injury with brief arrhythmias or a severe rupture of the cardiac wall, which is almost uniformly fatal.

Things to consider when dealing with a blunt cardiac contusion include the possibility of a severe and sustained cardiac arrhythmias, wall motion abnormalities of the heart, cardiogenic shock, and the possibility of rupture of the heart valves or any of the atrial or ventricular walls within the heart.

Traumatic Cardiac Contusions

 
 
Traumatic cardiac contusions can happen after blunt trauma at high velocities such as a motor vehicle accident in which the patient’s chest wall strikes the steering wheel, the dashboard, or even an airbag.  The signs and symptoms can be as minor as chest pain and bruising or as severe as a cardiac wall rupture, which is usually fatal.  Traumatic cardiac contusions can be difficult to diagnose and, if treatment is necessary, it often involves open heart surgery, with its inherent risks.

No one knows the exact incidence of traumatic cardiac contusions following chest trauma in a motor vehicle accident.  Articles in the literature have reported as little as 7 percent incidence of significant cardiac contusion to as high as 71 percent in other studies.  What is known is that, among those people who die from motor vehicle accidents, traumatic cardiac contusions contribute to 20 percent of those deaths.  The true incidence of traumatic cardiac contusions may not be known because a proportion of these patients will die at the scene or will die from other trauma sustained at the time of the accident.

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