Cardiac Injuries–A Clinical and Autopsy Profile

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One hundred two patients sustaining cardiac injuries over a 4-year period were analysed to highlight the natural history of the cardiac injuries. There were 45 blunt, 36 stab, and 21 gunshot injuries. The injury involved the ventricle in 85, atrium in seven, pulmonary artery in five cases, and resulted in crush injury to the heart in the remaining five cases. Thirty-three patients (32.3%) died on the scene and 58 (56.9%) died during the transportation. Only 11 patients (10.8%) reached the hospital alive, and ten of these patients survived following thoracotomy and repair of the cardiac injury. The factors influencing the natural course of cardiac injury were analysed: 2.2% of patients with blunt cardiac trauma reached the hospital alive compared to 19.4% with stab and 14.3% with gunshot injuries; ventricular injuries had a greater prehospital mortality compared to atrial or pulmonary artery injuries; 11.3% of patients sustaining injury to right ventricle reached the hospital alive compared to 3% of those with left ventricular injuries. These data emphasize the need for rapid transport, immediate recognition, and aggressive surgical management, to make a favourable impact on the natural history of cardiac injuries.

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