Limiting cardiac evaluation in patients with suspected myocardial contusion

Am Surg. 1995 Sep;61(9):832-5.


A great deal of time and effort is spent attempting to diagnose myocardial contusion in patients with blunt thoracic trauma. Many diagnostic protocols have been proposed in the past. However, there is no test with sufficient specificity to predict which patients will develop complications that will require therapy. Recent studies have raised the question of limiting the cardiac evaluation in certain selected patients with blunt thoracic trauma. We prospectively studied the safety of limiting the cardiac evaluation in patients who were hemodynamically stable, had no history of cardiac disease, had a normal baseline ECG, did not require surgery or neurological observation for associated injuries, and were less than 55 years of age. These patients represent the majority of patients considered at risk for myocardial contusion when mechanism is the sole criterion. These patients were simply admitted for 24 hours of continuous cardiac monitoring. No patient developed any complications of myocardial contusion requiring therapy. We conclude that it is safe to limit the cardiac evaluation in this group of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Contusions / diagnosis*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Patient Selection*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracic Injuries / complications*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications*