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Alternative Names Return to topBlunt myocardial injury
Definition Return to top
Myocardial contusion is a "bruise" of the heart muscle.
Causes Return to top
The most common causes are:
Symptoms Return to top
Pain in the breastbone (sternum) alerts the physician that there may have been an injury. Usually there are no symptoms other than a feeling that your heart is racing.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
Treatment is usually supportive. Patients are watched for 24 hours and continually monitored by ECG.
Some patients may need pain medication for pain in the breastbone (sternum).
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
You should recover fully.
In non-severe cases, the bruised part of the heart often regains its function without any permanent scarring.
Possible Complications Return to top
The main complication is that the bruising may lead to heart attack. This may cause long-term weakness in the ability of the heart to contract.
Abnormal heartbeats and conduction of electrical signals (arrhythmias) can occur. These can be serious.
Prevention Return to top
Basic safety precautions are keys to preventing myocardial contusion. Wear a seat belt when driving and purchase an automobile with air bags.Update Date: 5/15/2008 Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.