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A myocardial contusion is a term for a bruise (contusion) to the heart after an injury. It is usually a consequence of blunt trauma to the anterior chest wall, and the right ventricle is thought to be most commonly affected due to its anatomic location as the most anterior surface of the heart. Myocardial contusion is not a specific diagnosis and the extent of the injury can vary greatly. Usually, there are other chest injuries seen with a myocardial contusion such as rib fractures, pneuomothorax, and valve injury. When a myocardial contusion is suspected, consideration must be given to any other chest injuries, which will likely be determined by clinical signs, tests, and imaging.
The signs and symptoms of a myocardial contusion can manifest in different ways in people which may also be masked by the other injuries they present with. It is recommended that people with blunt chest trauma receive an electrocardiogram to determine if there are any irregularities with cardiac function. The presentation of a dysrhythmia after sustaining a myocardial contusion can be delayed for up to 72 hours.
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