Diagnosis, management, and complications of nonpenetrating cardiac trauma: A perspective for practicing clinicians

Journal Article

We provide a state-of-the-art review for practicing clinicians concerning diagnosis and treatment of patients with nonpenetrating cardiac trauma. Internists, cardiologists, and intensivists are becoming increasingly involved in the diagnosis and management of patients with nonpenetrating cardiac injuries. Electrocardiography and cardiac isoenzyme determinations are the least expensive and most common laboratory tests used to diagnose this condition. Despite widespread use, however, these tests have significant limitations in diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. Two-dimensional echocardiography is advocated by some to improve diagnostic accuracy and to identify patients at increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Patients identified as low risk may be suitable for limited monitoring and early hospital discharge. Transesophageal echocardiography is a useful diagnostic tool that offers many advantages over standard transthoracic imaging. Nuclear medicine techniques, including radionuclide-labeled antimyosin scanning, also represent exciting new developments in this area. Invasive techniques such as cardiac catheterization and pulmonary artery catheterization should be reserved for patients with hemodynamic instability and overt mechanical complications. Appropriate selection of diagnostic tests can assist clinicians in rapid triaging of patients with nonpenetrating cardiac trauma. Identification of patients at low risk for cardiovascular complications may lead to more appropriate use of hospital resources.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Voyce, SJ; Becker, RB

Published Date

  • 1993

Published In

  • Journal of Intensive Care Medicine

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 275 - 288