Is a Myocardial Contusion?
contusion is a bruise of the heart muscle, which can occur with
serious bodily injury. This is most commonly caused:
- by a car accident
- by falling from heights greater than 20 feet
- by receiving chest compressions during cardiopulmonary
Myocardial contusion shouldn’t be confused with infarction. Myocardial
infarction, or a heart attack, occurs
when the heart is severely damaged as a result of a lack of blood flow to the
Cases of myocardial contusion can vary from mild to severe. A medical
professional must evaluate each contusion. This condition can lead to
complications, particularly if it’s severe and left untreated. See your doctor
immediately if you’re in a serious accident.
Are the Symptoms of a Myocardial Contusion?
The symptoms of myocardial contusion can vary depending on when
your accident occurred and the severity of your injury. You may experience:
- extreme pain above the ribs
- an increased heart rate
- excessive fatigue
- shortness of breath
Any of these symptoms should be evaluated immediately. The symptoms
of severe heart contusions may mimic those of a heart attack.
Are the Causes of a Myocardial Contusion?
Bodily injuries and accidents cause contusions of the heart. The
heart muscle can be bruised if blunt force or pressure impacts the chest.
The most common causes of this condition include:
- car accidents
- being struck by a car
- CPR injuries
Is a Myocardial Contusion Diagnosed?
Several tests and exams are used to detect a contusion of the
heart. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to check for outward signs of
an injury near the heart. For example, your doctor may evaluate your chest for
Your doctor will also look for:
- low blood pressure
- an irregular heart rate
- a rapid heartbeat
- irregular breathing
In some cases, you may experience rib and lung injuries
associated with the accident that caused the heart contusion. This will be
evident if your doctor detects:
- a crunching sensation around the ribcage
- abnormal chest movement when you breathe
- extreme tenderness on your skin
Your doctor may use other tools to determine if there are
significant injuries to the:
Additional tests may include:
- an X-ray of the chest
- a CT scan of heart
- an echocardiogram to visualize the flow of blood
through the heart
- an electrocardiogram to monitor the heart’s
- a complete blood count, which can help your
doctor determine the presence of certain enzymes in the blood that appear when
the heart muscle and tissues are damaged
Is the Treatment for a Myocardial Contusion?
The type of treatment you receive depends on your injuries. In
some cases, electrocardiograms are performed for 24 hours to monitor the heart
on a continuous basis. Emergency treatment may include oxygen if you’re
experiencing breathing problems.
You may be referred for additional testing if unusual symptoms
are detected. This includes:
- blood drainage from the heart
- surgery to repair blood vessels
- chest tube placement to prevent fluid buildup in
- placement of a pacemaker to help regulate
Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and
ibuprofen, may also be recommended to help relieve pain. Ask your doctor before
use, especially if you’re pregnant or you’re taking any other pain medications.
Is the Outlook for People with Myocardial Contusion?
Most cases of myocardial contusions are treatable. Mild cases are
the most common, and recovery rates are high. However, you may be at risk for
further health complications if your injury is severe. Significant injuries can
lead to heart failure in the future.
Can I Prevent a Myocardial Contusion?
Not all accidents can be prevented and a serious injury can occur
without warning. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of
accidents and subsequent heart injuries. You should always take safety
precautions, like wearing a seat belt in the car and choosing a car with air
bags. You should also wear a safety harness if you’re working at height.