Penetrating cardiac injuries: clinical classification and management strategy

Br J Surg. 1994 Nov;81(11):1572-5. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800811106.


The management of penetrating cardiac injury is controversial. To facilitate decision making, a simple clinical classification of patients with such an injury is proposed. Five categories are considered: (1) lifeless, (2) critically unstable, (3) cardiac tamponade, (4) thoracoabdominal injury and (5) benign presentation. Investigation, if indicated, and the timing and setting of surgical intervention are discussed for each category.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergencies
  • Heart Injuries* / classification
  • Heart Injuries* / etiology
  • Heart Injuries* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Wounds, Penetrating* / classification
  • Wounds, Penetrating* / etiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating* / therapy