Car Accidents Can Cause Heart Related Injuries

According to, a bruise of the heart muscle, known as a myocardial contusion is commonly caused by car accidents, falling from heights greater than twenty feet and as a result of receiving CPR. It is caused by blunt trauma to the chest wall. Many times a myocardial contusion, also known as a cardiac contusion, is related to a fracture of the sternum or a rib fracture. In the context of a Manhattan car accident, a cardiac contusion may result when the driver of an automobile in the crash strikes their chest on the steering wheel.

What are the Symptoms of Cardiac Contusion?

  • Feeling faint;
  • Wheezing;
  • General weakness;
  • A racing of the heart or an arrhythmia;
  • Feeling lightheaded;
  • A shortness of breath;
  • Vomiting or nausea;
  • Tenderness and pain in the sternum.

What are the Risk Factors for Myocardial Contusion?

In a high speed collision where the driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt and is not protected by an airbag, the risk of a cardiac contusion is significantly magnified. And pedestrians in Manhattan who are struck by motor vehicles are at significant risk as well.

What are Some of the Complications of Myocardial Contusion?

  • Cardiac Rupture: if the bruise extends through the wall of the right ventricle, then the associated force inside the ventricle can cause the heart to rupture and is associated with a high mortality rate;
  • Aortic Rupture: This condition is associated with a very high mortality rate, especially if not diagnosed immediately. This usually happens when the forces of the heart are so strong that there is a rupture or leak of the aorta;
  • Cardiac Arrhythmia: Atrial fibrillation may develop or episodes of ventricular rhythm disturbances which can be fatal.

How Is A Cardiac Contusion Diagnosed?

Myocardial trauma is very difficult to diagnose because there is not a specific test that can detect the 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. Car 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. Many times 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.

How Is A Cardiac Contusion Treated?

Treatment options include over the counter medications like 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 need to be placed to help regulate the heartbeat.

If you are involved in an car accident in Manhattan seek immediate medical attention and then contact a Manhattan Car Accident Lawyer and get the proper legal advice and representation. Call Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. at 212-518-2095.