In the immediate aftermath of a crash, someone may not be surprised that their heart is racing, that they can feel it pounding in their chest and that they’re short of breath. After all, it was a sudden, traumatic event. However, if the impact of the crash caused a blow to the chest, those could be signs of an injury to the heart.
This kind of blunt injury can bruise the heart muscle, which is known as a myocardial contusion. It can also potentially damage one of the heart valves, which can cause heart failure or even tear the wall of the heart (a ventricular rupture).
Monitoring and testing can help determine if there was an injury to the heart
The last two of these, if not caught and treated (often surgically) immediately can prove fatal. Symptoms of any of these injuries can be obvious right away, or at least to first responders who can begin to do heart monitoring in the ambulance until further testing can be done at the hospital.
Sometimes, symptoms may not develop for hours. However, it’s still crucial to get your heart checked out at the hospital after a crash if you’ve suffered an injury in that area or noticed any changes to your breathing or heart rate.
A myocardial contusion can be mild, in which case it can heal on its own. In more serious cases, surgery may be required. Any of these injuries can cause permanent damage to the heart that requires regular monitoring and care. In some cases, people may have to give up their job if it’s too strenuous.
If you or a loved one has suffered heart damage in a crash, don’t settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company until you know the full extent of your injuries. Having experienced legal guidance is key.