In most cases this injury will not have been caused by a car accident however there is a significant proportion that is a direct result of motor vehicle collisions. Our myocardial contusion solicitors offer free advice without further obligation. If our lawyers deal with your claim it will be on a no win no fee basis, compensation is paid in full and you do not have to fund or finance your accident compensation claim.
A myocardial contusion is bruise of the heart muscle that occurs due to direct trauma to the heart. This can happen due to having CPR done on you, a motor vehicle accident in which you strike the steering wheel, a pedestrian/motor vehicle accident or falls from heights greater than 20 feet. The muscle is bruised and it acts as though the person has had a myocardial infarction in the affected area.
The signs and symptoms of a myocardial contusion include those similar to a heart attack. This can be chest pain, radiating to the jaw, back or left arm, shortness of breath, light headedness and nausea or vomiting. Pain in the sternum can tell the doctor that a myocardial contusion might have occurred during the accident. You may be weak and you may have a cardiac arrhythmia.
The diagnosis of myocardial contusion can be bruising of the sternum or scrapes and abrasions of the chest wall. There can be crepitus, or a crunching sound when palpating the sternum due to rib fractures or air underneath the skin from the lungs. The heartbeat can be racing or irregular and the blood pressure can be exceedingly low. Breathing can be rapid or shallow and there can be chest tenderness. There can be a flail segment, which involves the rise and fall of a section of chest wall due to multiple fractures that are not attached to the rest of the body.
Blood tests for myocardial contusion are identical to blood tests that are done for a heart attack. This includes a troponin level, a CK MB band fraction which tells if there is damage to the heart. A chest x-ray can show fractures or fluid around the heart or in the lungs. An electrocardiogram can show if there is electrical damage to the heart consistent with an area of the heart that is contused. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test that shows heart wall motion and whether or not the valves are functioning. The tests are designed to show abnormalities in the heart wall mobility, blood or fluid in the pericardial sac around the heart. Rib fractures can be suspicious for a cardiac contusion. A defect in the hearts electrical system can be picked up on and treated. A fast heart rate can happen when the sinoatrial node is affected. Dangerous rhythms need immediate treatment.
The treatment of myocardial contusions is generally just supportive. Patients are monitored for arrhythmias or cardiac damage for about twenty four to forty eight hours and are usually given IV fluids, pain medications, medications for heart rhythm disturbances and medications to bring up the blood pressure. A pacemaker is sometimes necessary for fast or slow heart rhythms. Oxygen is given to protect the heart muscle. Sometimes a chest tube is placed for removal of blood and fluid from around the lungs. The pericardial sac may need to be drained of blood and surgery to repair seriously torn blood vessels may be necessary.
The prognosis of myocardial contusions is usually quite good with complete recovery of the heart damage as long as the blood supply to the heart is good. If the injury is serious, then the heart muscle can be irrevocably damaged so that rhythm problems are necessary for life. In some cases, a pacemaker is required for the long term.
Prevention of myocardial contusion depends on basic safety precautions. You need to wear a seatbelt and have an air bag in your vehicle, particularly on the drivers side. When working at high heights, you need to take precautions and wear safety equipment to prevent falls.
If you have suffered physically, mentally or financially, you should consider making an accident compensation claim. For telephone advice at no cost from specialist personal injury solicitors just call the lawyers helpline. Our myocardial contusion solicitors will assess the strength of your claim and will advise you on your potential award of compensation without any further obligation.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here