Diagnosis and Management of Penetrating Cardiac Injury
Although relatively rare, you will likely be exposed to penetrating cardiac injuries much more frequently in the combat environment than in the civilian trauma environment. The clinical presentation of patients with penetrating cardiac injury varies widely and can be divided into five categories: lifeless, critically unstable, cardiac tamponade, thoraco-abdominal injury and benign presentation. Regardless of the patient’s condition at presentation, penetrating cardiac injury is life-threatening. You must diagnose and treat these injuries before clinical deterioration and death ensues.