Myocardial contusion following thoracic trauma, particularly in cases involving high-speed automobile accidents, is more often a cause of death than is commonly realized, according to William E. DeMuth Jr., MD, Carlisle, Pa.
"Its apparent rarity is the result of lack of recognition," DeMuth told the Annual AMA Convention. "Careful investigation of patients sustaining thoracic injuries will reveal an incidence of cardiac injury far in excess of that commonly appreciated." DeMuth said he encountered seven instances of traumatic myocardial injury in 144 consecutive autopsies over a two-year period.
"The incidence in a given hospital will be directly proportional to the number of high-speed automobile accident victims treated," he said. "Less common causes of cardiac injury are those due to blast, crush, and high-velocity gunshot wounds."
Recognition of the condition is of more than academic interest, he said. While most contusions of the heart proceed to a normal recovery, "a significant number