Most people don’t associate car crashes or other accidents with heart damage. Certainly, broken bones, lacerations, spinal cord damage and even brain injuries are often more obvious.
However, any incident that involves a blunt force injury to the chest, including a fall or a blow to the chest, can cause something called a myocardial contusion. That’s a bruising of the heart muscle. It can also damage or even rupture the heart valves, which can lead to heart failure.
Our readers likely remember when Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field early this year after a blow to the chest that caused him to go into cardiac arrest. What happened to him was linked to a condition called commotio cortis, which is extremely rare but potentially fatal. As one doctor explained, it can happen “when you have a blunt trauma to the chest that occurs at exactly the right time in the cardiac electrical cycle….”
These injuries aren’t always immediately obvious
Unless you suffer an injury to the heart that causes it to stop, however, it may be obvious right away – particularly if you have more obvious injuries. Some of these injuries, such as myocardial contusion, can be relatively mild and will eventually heal naturally.
Other heart damage can be much more serious. Even if it’s not fatal, it can be permanent – particularly if it’s not treated properly. Sometimes surgery is necessary to help repair the damage.
Why a complete medical evaluation after an accident is essential
It’s crucial to get a full medical evaluation after any kind of accident or any event that causes injury. Let the medical team know if there was trauma to the chest area so they can do the proper testing.
If you’re seeking compensation from those responsible for a heart-related injury, it’s important to understand how the injury will affect you both in the short term and long term. Heart damage can have lifelong effects on your health, your activity level and even potentially your ability to work. Having sound legal guidance can help you work to ensure that you get the justice and compensation you deserve.