A person who has had blunt chest trauma may experience cardiac rupture weeks after the original injury.


Clinical features:

(1) The patient has a history of blunt chest trauma.

(2) Several weeks later there is a rupture of the myocardium with hemopericardium or hemothorax.

(3) The patient may present in shock or cardiac tamponade.


Risk factors:

(1) fractured rib(s)

(2) damage to a coronary artery

(3) anticoagulation therapy


The association between the trauma and the cardiac rupture may be missed if the trauma:

(1) was thought to be minor

(2) has been forgotten.

(3) occurred while the person was unconscious.


Differential diagnosis:

(1) cardiac rupture following a recent myocardial infarction (AMI)

(2) acute cardiac rupture following the blunt trauma (within 2-3 weeks of the trauma)


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