What Is A Cardiac Contusion?
A cardiac contusion is usually the result of a chest injury that is caused by blunt trauma impact and is often sustained in a car accident when the chest strikes the steering wheel. A myocardial contusion, also known as a cardiac contusion, is a bruise injury to the heart muscle. Cardiac contusions can be mild or severe.
What Causes A Cardiac Contusion?
A cardiac contusion usually results when blunt trauma to the chest wall (also known as the thoracic wall) displaces the sternum bone which in turn compresses the heart. The right ventricle is located behind the sternum and is usually injured by a blunt trauma impact to the sternum bone. Heart damage in the form of a myocardial contusion is a common injury following a car crash, motorcycle accident, falling from great heights, and receiving chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cardiac Contusion?
Symptoms of a cardiac contusion mimic those of a heart attack. Approximately 90 percent of cardiac contusions produce arrhythmia, which is irregular heart beating, within 48 hours of the injury. Life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiac arrest are not common and occur approximately 16% of the time. Other symptoms may include extreme pain in the ribs and sternum, an increased heart rate, weakness, excessive fatigue, lightheartedness, nausea, hypotension, hypoxia, vomiting, and shortness of breath. However, this list of symptoms is associated with many other conditions and are easily masked in victims that have other serious injuries resulting in blood loss. What is scary is that life-ending cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac failure can occur in people that do show any signs/symptoms of a cardiac contusion. If you are experiencing chest pains or arrhythmic heart beats seek immediate medical care for a cardiac contusion.
How Is A Cardiac Contusion Diagnosed?
Myocardial trauma is very difficult to diagnose because there is not a specific test that can detect myocardial damage. Medical doctors perform a physical exam to check outward signs of an injury near the heart. Close attention is paid to blood pressure levels, heart rate, and any irregular breathing to make the diagnosis. Accident victims that arrive to the hospital with lesions, bruises or markings on their chest from the blunt chest trauma have a better chance of being properly diagnosed. Oftentimes rib and lung injuries spill over to the heart and arteries. Chest x-rays, CT scans, EKGs/ECGs, echocardiography and blood testing help confirm the diagnosis and monitor the heart as it heals from the contusion.
Electrocardiography (EKGs/ECGs) mainly picks up on the electrical activity contained in the left ventricle of the heart because it is larger than the right ventricle. This is not good because most cardiac contusions involve the right ventricle due to its placement directly behind the sternum. EKGs/ECGs are not great at detecting cardiac contusions that result in right ventricular damage.
Echocardiograms are able to detect problems in the heart’s wall. They are also capable of detecting things like valve lesions, intracardiac shunts, pericardial effusions and ventricular dilatations.
How Is A Cardiac Contusion Treated?
Treatment options include over the counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, heart monitoring, and oxygen to assist with breathing function. If the contusion is severe, blood will be drained from the heart, surgery is performed to repair blood vessels, a chest tube is placed to prevent fluid and air buildup, and a pacemaker may be placed to help regulate the heartbeat.
Compensation For A Cardiac Contusion
If you are experiencing extreme pain in ribs, increased heart rate and shortness of breath after a traumatic incident or a car crash, you may have a cardiac contusion. Make sure you are examined and diagnosed by a medical doctor immediately. You may be able to pursue compensation for damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent injury or disability, costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages from missed work, diminished earning capacity, mental anguish and emotional distress, punitive damages, and/or property damage or loss.
Massachusetts Cardiac Contusion Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered a cardiac contusion because of someone else’s negligence and would like to discuss your legal options, contact an experienced Boston Myocardial Contusion Injury Lawyer today for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan has a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience representing victims of chest injuries in southeastern Massachusetts.
Did you, or a loved one suffer a serious injury or loss of life due to an accident? Our Boston area car accident and personal injury claims attorneys will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. No pressure. No-obligation. No fee, if no recovery.
For a free, no-obligation case review and consultation call our law firm today at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step towards getting fair compensation for your injuries or for the loss of a loved one. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.
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Our Massachusetts Cardiac Contusion lawyer assists motor vehicle and other accident victims throughout all of Massachusetts including, but not limited to, those in the following counties, cities and towns: Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; Cape Cod, Falmouth, Barnstable and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Lynn, Lawrence, Lowell, Everett, Chlesea, Revere, Dorchester, Roxbury and Somerville.