Myocardial contusion is an infrequent, but sometimes serious complication in patients who experienced deceleration (blunt) trauma. We investigated the assessment of the new cardiac markers troponin I (cTnI) and troponin T (cTnT) in relation to the conventional CKMB-activity, the CKMB-activity/CK-total ratio, CKMB-mass and the CKMB-mass/CK-total ratio for the detection of myocardial contusion in 89 patients with blunt trauma (38 patients with thoracic injuries and 51 patients without thoracic injuries). All parameters were analysed at admission (t1) and 24 h after admission (t2). For the patients with thoracic injuries, at t1 cTnI was elevated in three, and cTnT in four patients; at t2 both cTnI and cTnT were elevated in nine patients. At t1, eighteen to thirty patients had increased levels of the conventional parameters; at t2 this was true for six to thirty-five patients. For the patients without thoracic injuries all cTnI and cTnT levels were within the reference ranges at t1. At t2 one patient, who experienced an acute myocardial infarction, had elevated cTnI and cTnT levels. At t1, five to thirty-five patients had increased levels of the conventional parameters; at t2 this was true for four to forty-two patients. From this study we conclude that the conventional parameters are not useful for the detection of myocardial contusion in patients experiencing blunt trauma. The parameters cTnI and cTnT are equally accurate and more reliable for the selection of patients who require intensive cardiac monitoring. If at admission the cTnI or the cTnT levels are within the reference ranges, a second analysis after admission is necessary to reach a reliable conclusion concerning myocardial contusion as a result of trauma on basis of the troponin levels.