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J Trauma Inj. 2017 Dec;30(4):166-172. English. Original Article.
Joo S , Ma DS , Jeon YB , Hyun SY .
Department of Trauma Surgery, Regional Trauma Center, Gachon University Gil Hospital, Incheon, Korea.


Thoracic traumas represent 10-15% of all traumas and are responsible for 25% of all trauma mortalities. Traumatic cardiac injury (TCI) is one of the major causes of death in trauma patients, rarely present in living patients who are transferred to the hospital. TCI is a challenge for trauma surgeons as it provides a short therapeutic window and the management is often dictated by the underlying mechanism and hemodynamic status. This study is to describe our experiences about emergency cardiac surgery in TCI.


This is a retrospective clinical analysis of patients who had undergone emergency cardiac surgery in our trauma center from January 2014 to December 2016. Demographics, physiologic data, mechanism of injuries, the timing of surgical interventions, surgical approaches and outcomes were reviewed.


The number of trauma patients who arrived at our hospital during the study period was 9,501. Among them, 884 had chest injuries, 434 patients were evaluated to have over 3 abbreviated injury scale (AIS) about the chest. Cardiac surgeries were performed in 18 patients, and 13 (72.2%) of them were male. The median age was 47.0 years (quartiles 35.0, 55.3). Eleven patients (61.1%) had penetrating traumas. Prehospital cardiopulmonary resuscitations (CPR) were performed in 4 patients (22.2%). All of them had undergone emergency department thoracotomy (EDT), and they were transferred to the operating room for definitive repair of the cardiac injury, but all of them expired in the intensive care unit. Most commonly performed surgical incision was median sternotomy (n=13, 72.2%). The majority site of injury was right ventricle (n=11, 61.1%). The mortality rate was 22.2% (n=4).


This study suggests that penetrating cardiac injuries are more often than blunt cardiac injury in TCI, and the majority site of injury is right ventricle. Also, it suggests prehospital CPR and EDT are significantly responsible for high mortality in TCI.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.