Predictors of Mortality in Blunt Cardiac Injury: A Nationwide Analysis

Khaled El-Qawaqzeh, Tanya Anand, Joseph Richards, Hamidreza Hosseinpour, Adam Nelson, Malak Nazem Akl, Omar Obaid, Michael Ditillo, Randall Friese, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Blunt thoracic injury (BTI) is one of the most common causes of trauma admission in the United States and is uncommonly associated with cardiac injuries. Blunt cardiac injury (BCI) after blunt thoracic trauma is infrequent but carries a substantial risk of morbidity and sudden mortality. Our study aims to identify predictors of concomitant cardiac contusion among BTI patients and the predictors of mortality among patients presenting with BCI on a national level. Materials and Methods: We performed a 1-y (2017) analysis of the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program. We included all adults (aged ≥ 18 y) with the diagnosis of BTI. We excluded patients who were transferred, had a penetrating mechanism of injury, and who were dead on arrival. Our primary outcomes were the independent predictors of concomitant cardiac contusions among BTI patients and the predictors of mortality among BCI patients. Our secondary outcome measures were in-hospital complications, differences in injury patterns, and injury severity between the survivors and nonsurvivors of BCI. Results: A total of 125,696 patients with BTI were identified, of which 2368 patients had BCI. Mean age was 52 ± 20 y, 67% were male, and median injury severity score was 14 [9-21]. The most common type of cardiac injury was cardiac contusion (43%). Age ≥ 65 y, higher 4-h packed red blood cell requirements, motor vehicle collision mechanism of injury, and concomitant thoracic injuries (hemothorax, flail chest, lung contusion, sternal fracture, diaphragmatic injury, and thoracic aortic injuries) were independently associated with concomitant cardiac contusion among BTI patients (P value < 0.05). Age ≥ 65 y, thoracic aortic injury, diaphragmatic injury, hemothorax, and a history of congestive heart failure were independently associated with mortality in BCI patients (P value < 0.05). Conclusions: Predictors of concomitant cardiac contusion among BTI patients and mortality among BCI patients were identified. Guidelines on the management of BCI should incorporate these predictors for timely identification of high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Blunt cardiac injury
  • Blunt thoracic injury
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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