Screening for blunt cardiac injury
Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.74). 11/2012; 73:S301-S306. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318270193a
BACKGROUND: Diagnosing blunt cardiac injury (BCI) can be difficult. Many patients with mechanism for BCI are admitted to the critical care setting based on associated injuries; however, debate surrounds those patients who are hemodynamically stable and do not otherwise require a higher level of care. To allow safe discharge home or admission to a nonmonitored setting, BCI should be definitively ruled out in those at risk. METHODS: This Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) practice management guideline (PMG) updates the original from 1998. English-language citations were queried for BCI from March 1997 through December 2011, using the PubMed Entrez interface. Of 599 articles identified, prospective or retrospective studies examining BCI were selected. Each article was reviewed by two members of the EAST BCI PMG workgroup. Data were collated, and a consensus was obtained for the recommendations. RESULTS: We identified 35 institutional studies evaluating the diagnosis of adult patients with suspected BCI. This PMG has 10 total recommendations, including two Level 2 updates, two upgrades from Level 3 to Level 2, and three new recommendations. CONCLUSION: Electrocardiogram (ECG) alone is not sufficient to rule out BCI. Based on four studies showing that the addition of troponin I to ECG improved the negative predictive value to 100%, we recommend obtaining an admission ECG and troponin I from all patients in whom BCI is suspected. BCI can be ruled out only if both ECG result and troponin I level are normal, a significant change from the previous guideline. Patients with new ECG changes and/or elevated troponin I should be admitted for monitoring. Echocardiogram is not beneficial as a screening tool for BCI and should be reserved for patients with hypotension and/or arrhythmias. The presence of a sternal fracture alone does not predict BCI. Cardiac computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging can be used to differentiate acute myocardial infarction from BCI in trauma patients.
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ABSTRACT: Sternal fractures occur infrequently with blunt force trauma. The demographics and epidemiology of associated injuries have not been well characterized from a national trauma database. The National Trauma Data Bank was queried for patients with closed sternal fractures. The demographics were analyzed by age, gender, mechanism and indicators of anatomic and physiologic injuries. Types of commonly associated injuries were also determined. A total of 23,985 records were analyzed. Males accounted for 68.3 per cent and whites 70.9 per cent. Motor vehicle crash was the leading mechanism. More than 56 per cent had severe injuries based on Injury Severity Score (greater than 15) and 17 per cent with Glasgow Coma Score 8 or less. Crude mortality was 7.9 per cent. The majority (57.8%) and approximately one-third (33.7%) of the patients had rib fractures and lung contusions, respectively, 22.0 per cent with closed pneumothorax, 21.6 per cent had a closed thoracic vertebra fracture, 16.9 per cent with lumbar spine fracture, 3.9 per cent with concussion, and blunt cardiac injury in 3.6 per cent. Sternal fractures are usually associated with severe blunt trauma. Lung contusion remains the leading associated injury followed by vertebral spine fractures. Cardiac injuries are less frequent and vascular injuries less so. Mechanism of injury and presence of sternal fractures should alert providers to these potential associated injuries.
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ABSTRACT: An adolescent male trauma patient developed new asymptomatic ST segment elevations that mimicked a myocardial infarction on infero-lateral telemetry leads on hospital day #8, following burn excision and skin grafting. This was confirmed on 12 lead electrocardiogram. Laboratory test results indicated normal potassium. Troponins ×3 were negative. X-rays indicated marked gaseous gastric distention. A nasogastric tube was placed with evacuation of 400 mL of fluid and resolution of gastric distention. After gastric decompression, the ST segment elevations resolved. This case illustrates the need to consider acute gastric distention in the differential of acute ST segment elevation.
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ABSTRACT: The clinical significance of sternal fractures (SFs) after blunt trauma is heavily debated. We aimed to test the hypothesis that isolated SF is not associated with significant morbidity or mortality. The National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) sets for 2007-2010 were retrospectively examined. Adult subjects with SF were identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnostic codes. Data collected included demographics, mechanisms of injury, clinical variables, and in-hospital mortality. The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcome measures included hospital length of stay, intensive care unit days, and ventilator days. A total of 32,746 subjects with SF were included. Motor vehicle crash (MVC) was the most common mechanism (84%) in this group and SF was present in 3.7% of all patients admitted after MVC. The mean age was 51 y, 66% were males, and most were white (74%). Overall in-hospital mortality was 8.8% and mortality with isolated SF was 3.5%. Increasing thoracic fracture burden (rib fracture, clavicular fracture, and scapular fracture) was associated with increasing hospital length of stay, intensive care unit days, ventilator days, and mortality. On multivariate regression analysis, other significant predictors of mortality were cardiac arrest, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolism, blunt cardiac injury, pulmonary contusion, increasing age, and lack of insurance. SFs occur in 3.7% of victims after MVC. With isolated SF, the mortality rate is low (3.5%); the tendency for poorer outcomes is most heavily influenced by associated injuries (pulmonary contusions, other thoracic fractures), complications (cardiac arrest, pulmonary embolism, acute respiratory distress syndrome), comorbidities (currently on or requiring dialysis, residual neurologic deficit from stroke), and lack of insurance.
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