Objective: In blunt chest trauma, the right ventricle is more vulnerable than the left. The purpose of this study was to determine whether recording V4R in patients with blunt chest trauma would provide additional useful information to that already obtained from the standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG).
Methods: Forty-five patients with blunt chest trauma and 40 unmatched control subjects without blunt chest trauma had standard 12-lead ECG and right precordial leads recorded. The ECGs were read blindly by three physicians.
Results: Patients with chest trauma were distinguishable from controls on the basis of the left-sided ECGs (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.71-4.90). This was not the case using V4R (odds ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-2.0).
Conclusion: Patients with a significant mechanism and physical findings of blunt chest trauma were more likely than controls to have an abnormal ECG. They were not more likely to have abnormalities in V4R. We recommend that a 12-lead ECG, but not V4R, be routinely obtained on these patients.