A frequent but undiagnosed heart injury can be caused by impacting your chest against the steering wheel of an automobile during an automobile accident. Serious injury to the heart can be caused even though there appears to be no external sign of injury. The most common injury to the heart is a myocardial contusion, or bruising.
1 – bruise of the heart muscle
Myocardial contusion may cause arrhythmias, or other electrocardiographic abnormalities resembling an infarction. It is important to keep in mind that changes in heart function or readings of heart function can be caused by an auto accident where someone suffered blunt force trauma to the chest. Some of the manifestations can occur weeks and even months after the traumatic event. Some typical symptoms to be aware of include chest pain, shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat. In a severe impact, bruising of the heart muscle can lead to serious consequences.
More serious injuries are possible but occur less frequently. Possible injuries include rupture of vessels or ventricles or tearing of pericardial vessels or arteries. Some of the more serious injuries can cause instant death or rapidly progressive heart failure.
If you are in a serious car accident and hit your chest on the steering wheel, dash, or even took the full force of the airbags, it is advisable to convey to your medical providers any perceived changes in cardiac function even if you have no visible injuries.