Of all the types of injury that can be caused by a serious car crash, damage to the heart isn’t typically one that most people consider. However, people can suffer a myocardial contusion (or cardiac contusion), which is a blunt injury to the heart.
This type of injury can occur whenever someone’s chest strikes a hard surface or object. It can also result from a fall and in some types of sports. Often, it’s accompanied by a fractured sternum (breastbone).
Signs of a myocardial contusion
If someone’s being treated at a hospital after a car crash, it’s common for doctors to focus on the most obvious injuries, like lacerations and broken bones. They may also check for signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you or a loved one suffered a blow to the chest in the crash, it’s wise to have an evaluation of the heart as well – especially if there are symptoms like:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
As you may note, these are also common symptoms of a heart attack. Imaging and blood work can confirm whether there’s been a myocardial contusion.
Myocardial contusions can range from mild to fatal
Not all myocardial contusions are serious. Some people can recover from a mild one in weeks. More serious ones can cause permanent damage to the heart. It depends on how bad the contusion is. In some cases, particularly if not detected and treated promptly, a myocardial contusion can cause heart failure and death.
This type of injury isn’t as common in crashes as it used to be since most cars now have airbags at least for the front seats. However, in the force of a crash, it can still occur. That’s why it’s important not to ignore the symptoms listed above. As we noted, these could be signs of a myocardial contusion or a heart attack – both of which are possible to suffer in a crash.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one due to a crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver, it’s crucial to get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need. That’s why it’s wise to have legal guidance.