Cardiac and great vessel injuries in children after blunt trauma: an institutional review

G M Tiao, P M Griffith, J R Szmuszkovicz, G H Mahour
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2000, 35 (11): 1656-60

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to review the incidence of cardiac and great vessel injury after blunt trauma in children.

METHOD: A retrospective review of 2,744 patients with injuries from blunt mechanisms was performed.

RESULTS: Eleven patients sustained cardiac injury. Four patients had clinically evident cardiac contusions. All recovered. Four patients who died from central nervous system injury were found to have cardiac contusions at autopsy. None had clinical evidence of contusion before demise. One patient had a traumatic ventricular septal defect (VSD) that required operative repair. Autopsy findings showed a VSD in another patient, and a third patient was found to have a ventricular septal aneurysm that was treated medically. Two patients had great vessel injuries. One patient had a contained disruption of the superior vena cava that was managed nonoperatively. Another patient had a midthoracic periaortic hematoma without intimal disruption found at autopsy. One patient had cardiac and great vessel injuries. Discrete aneurysms of 2 coronary artery branches and the pulmonary outflow tract were identified by cardiac catheterization. This patient was treated nonoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac and great vessel injury after blunt trauma are uncommon in children. Cardiac contusion was the most common injury encountered but had minimal clinical significance. Noncontusion cardiac injury is rare. No patient with aortic transection was identified.


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