7 Scopus citations


Right atrial wall rupture after blunt chest trauma is a catastrophic event associated with high mortality rates. We report the case of a 24-year-old woman who was ejected 40 feet during a motor vehicle accident. Upon presentation, she was awake and alert, with a systolic blood pressure of 100 mmHg. Chest computed tomography disclosed a large pericardial effusion; transthoracic echocardiography confirmed this finding and also found right ventricular diastolic collapse. A diagnosis of cardiac tamponade with probable cardiac injury was made; the patient was taken to the operating room, where median sternotomy revealed a 1-cm laceration of the right atrial appendage. This lesion was directly repaired with 4-0 polypropylene suture. Her postoperative course was uneventful, and she continued to recover from injuries to the musculoskeletal system. This case highlights the need for a high degree of suspicion of cardiac injuries after blunt chest trauma. An algorithm is proposed for rapid recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of these lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-581
Number of pages3
JournalTexas Heart Institute Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012


  • Accidents, traffic
  • Algorithms
  • Biological markers/blood
  • Blunt chest trauma
  • Cardiac tamponade/ etiology
  • Echocardiography, transesophageal
  • Echocardiography, transthoracic
  • Heart atria/injuries
  • Heart rupture/diagnosis
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Troponin/blood
  • Wounds, nonpenetrating/ diagnosis/surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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