A meta-analysis of blunt cardiac trauma: ending myocardial confusion

Am J Emerg Med. 1996 May;14(3):237-41. doi: 10.1016/S0735-6757(96)90165-5.


The purpose of this study was to use a meta-analysis of the current literature to identify which patients with blunt cardiac trauma develop complications. All studies on myocardial contusion since 1967 were reviewed. Three separate meta-analyses were performed: one with only prospective studies, one with only retrospective studies, and one with all studies combined. Data on electrocardiogram (ECG), creatine phosphokinase-MB isoenzyme (CPK-MB), radionuclide scans, and echocardiogram were analyzed using the Mantel-Haenszel procedure. Results of the three meta-analyses were similar. Abnormal ECG and abnormal CPK-MB were found to correlate directly with complications requiring treatment. Conversely, normal ECG and CPK-MB correlated with the lack of clinically significant complications. Radionuclide scans did not correlate with complications. The results for echocardiogram were not congruent between the prospective and retrospective studies. The data support the use of ECG and CPK-MB in the diagnosis of clinically significant myocardial contusion. Radionuclide scanning is not useful in the evaluation of patients with blunt cardiac trauma. Further studies need to define the role of echocardiography.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Contusions / complications*
  • Contusions / diagnosis*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart Injuries / complications*
  • Heart Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Creatine Kinase