Blunt Trauma to the Heart and Great Vessels

  • Antonino M. GrandeEmail author
  • Paolo Aseni


The purpose of this chapter is to review presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the different forms of cardiac and great vessel injuries due to blunt chest trauma. After blunt chest trauma, there is a wide range of cardiac injuries including myocardial contusion, wall rupture, valvular disruptions, injury to the great vessels or the coronary arteries, pericardial involvement, and dysrhythmic complications. Cardiac contusion represents the most frequent injury to the heart after blunt chest trauma. While the more serious injuries are often very evident to the clinician on presentation, cardiac contusion may be particularly difficult to diagnose, and appropriate management may be delayed. Echocardiography is a noninvasive test fundamental for a correct diagnosis of cardiac contusion. Angio-CT in the emergency room in polytrauma patients with blunt chest trauma is the gold standard diagnostic test and can easily diagnose the most life-threatening injuries of the heart and great vessels that necessitate immediate cardiac surgery. We present here an algorithm for diagnosis and management of patients with suspected blunt cardiac injury.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiac SurgeryIRCCS Fondazione Policlinico San MatteoPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Emergenza UrgenzaASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano NiguardaMilanoItaly

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