Blunt Cardiac Injury

Author: Michelle Lin, MD
Updated: 6/29/2012

Blunt Cardiac Injury

Definition: Encompasses wide spectrum of clinical injuries, ranging from asymptomatic myocardial bruise to cardiac rupture/death

No gold standard


  • Causes 20% of all deaths due to motor vehicle collisions
  • Most commonly injured chamber: Right ventricle (most anterior in chest)

Clinical tips:

  • Suspect in anyone with significant blunt, deceleration, or crush trauma to chest
  • Consider BCI in hemodynamically unstable patients without alternative cause
  • Troponin I and T lack adequate sensitivity as screening test

Suggested algorithm, based on available evidence

Blunt cardiac injury algorithm


  • Bernardin B, Troquet JM. Initial management and resuscitation of severe chest trauma. EM Clinics of North Am. 2012;30:377-400. [PubMed]