Penetrating Cardiac Injuries

  1. Major cause of death in urban trauma centers
  2. Seen more often than ever
  3. Due to either gunshot or stab wounds


  1. Two conditions usually lead to death
  2. Injury specifics
  3. Structures injured


  1. History of penetrating trauma
  2. Exam
  3. Labs
  4. Diagnostic imaging

Many sources currently recommend that cardiac injuries NOT be temporarily repaired in settings where CT/Vascular surgery specialty services are not rapidly available (i.e. when patient must be transferred).

  1. ATLS ABCs
  2. Fluid resuscitation
  3. Unstable / moribund patients
  4. More stable patients
  5. Tetanus prophylaxis