• Sixty-four patients with cardiac contusion documented by electrocardiographic changes and creatine kinase MB fraction assay following blunt chest injury were reviewed to assess the impact of cardiac contusion on subsequent management. Fifty-eight patients had elevated creatine kinase MB levels; 35 patients had electrocardiographic abnormalities, including ST-segment and T-wave changes (25), premature ventricular contraction (ten), right bundle-branch block (nine), atrioventricular block (three), atrial fibrillation (three), and premature atrial contraction (two). Thirty patients underwent general anesthesia. There were only four perioperative complications: ventricular ectopy, ventricular fibrillation, nodal rhythm, and pulmonary edema. There were no deaths attributable to cardiac contusion. In summary, patients with blunt trauma who have sustained a cardiac contusion can undergo elective operation with a low incidence of complication. In the emergency setting, however, hemodynamic monitoring for early detection of arrhythmias is indicated.
(Arch Surg 1989;124:506-507)