Diagnostic approach for myocardial contusion: a retrospective evaluation of patient data and review of the literature

Esther M.M. Van Lieshout*, Michael H.J. Verhofstad, Dirk Jan T. Van Silfhout, Eric A. Dubois

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: Myocardial contusion can be a life-threatening condition in patients who sustained blunt thoracic trauma. The diagnostic approach remains a subject of debate. The aim of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of echocardiography, electrocardiography, troponins T and I (TnT and TnI), and creatine kinase muscle/brain (CK-MB) for identifying patients with a myocardial contusion following blunt thoracic trauma. Methods: Sensitivity and specificity were first determined in a 10-year retrospective cohort study and second by a systematic literature review with meta-analysis. Results: Of the 117 patients in the retrospective study, 44 (38%) were considered positive for myocardial contusion. Chest X-ray, chest CT scan, electrocardiograph, and echocardiography had poor sensitivity (< 15%) but good specificity (≥ 90%). Sensitivity to cardiac biomarkers measured at presentation ranged from 59% for TnT to 77% for hs-TnT, specificity ranged from 63% for CK-MB to 100% for TnT. The systematic literature review yielded 28 studies, with 14.5% out of 7242 patients reported as positive for myocardial contusion. The pooled sensitivity of electrocardiography, troponin I, and CK-MB was between 62 and 71%, versus only 45% for echocardiography and 38% for troponin T. The pooled specificity ranged from 63% for CK-MB to 85% for troponin T and 88% for echocardiography. Conclusion: The best diagnostic approach for myocardial contusion is a combination of electrocardiography and measurement of cardiac biomarkers. If abnormalities are found, telemonitoring is necessary for the early detection of life-threatening arrhythmias. Chest X-ray and CT scan may show other thoracic injuries but provide no information on myocardial contusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1272
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Issue number4
Early online date25 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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© 2020, The Author(s).


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