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ABSTRACT: In the United States, trauma is the leading cause of death among those who are 1-44 years old, with cardiovascular injuries representing the second most common cause of traumatic death after central nervous system injuries. Evaluation of trauma patients with suspected cardiac injury may be complex and include electrocardiography, measurement of cardiac biomarkers, and imaging examinations. Contrast material-enhanced computed tomography (CT) has become one of the most valuable imaging tools available for evaluating hemodynamically stable patients with suspected cardiac injury. The presence of hemopericardium, with or without cardiac tamponade, is one of the most significant findings of cardiac injury. Other complications that result from blunt cardiac injury, such as pericardial rupture and cardiac herniation, may be readily depicted at multidetector CT. Assessment of patients with cardiac injuries, particularly those with penetrating injuries, is a challenging and time-critical matter, with clinical and imaging findings having complementary roles in the formation of an accurate diagnosis. Patients who are hemodynamically stable, particularly those with penetrating cardiac injuries, also may benefit from a timely imaging examination. In addition to chest radiography, other available modalities such as transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, nuclear medicine, and magnetic resonance imaging may play a role in selected cases.
Radiographics 05/2012; 32(3):633-49. · 2.79 Impact Factor