Evaluation of noninvasive tests of cardiac damage in suspected cardiac contusion.
Nonpenetrating trauma to the chest can result in cardiac damage that may be overlooked because of associated injuries and the lack of obvious thoracic injury. The clinical diagnosis of important cardiac damage in this setting is difficult. We evaluated noninvasive tests for detecting myocardial damage in 100 patients with severe, nonpenetrating chest trauma. The noninvasive tests included serial ECG, serial total CPK and CPK-MB enzymes, continuous Holter monitor recording to detect dysrhythmia, and technetium-99m pyrophosphate scintigraphy. Peak CPK-MB elevations occurred in 72 patients. ECG abnormalities were noted in 70 patients, and 27 patients had Lown grade 3 or greater dysrhythmias. Fifteen patients died and all had autopsies. The noninvasive abnormalities were nonspecific and did not reflect myocardial contusion that led to clinically important cardiac complications.
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