Cardiac emergencies: Blunt chest trauma

George Karatasakis, MD, FESC
Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece

Blunt chest trauma is considered a major health problem worldwide because of the tremendous increase of the motor vehicle accidents. Any part of the heart or the great vessels can be injured. Hemopericardium and myocardial contusion are the most frequent cardiac lesions in patients who survive a motor vehicle accident. Rupture of a cardiac chamber, the aorta, or the coronary arteries is often fatal. Valve ruptures especially of the tricuspid valve carry a better prognosis. Diagnosis is based on troponin and cardiac enzymes measurement, ECG changes, chest X-ray, echocardiography and spiral computed tomography. Management of patients with compromised hemodynamics and progressive deterioration is surgical often on an emergent basis.




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