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Trauma, a Matter of the Heart—Molecular Mechanism of Post-Traumatic Cardiac Dysfunction


Trauma remains a leading global cause of mortality, particularly in the young population. In the United States, approximately 30,000 patients with blunt cardiac trauma were recorded annually. Cardiac damage is a predictor for poor outcome after multiple trauma, with a poor prognosis and prolonged in-hospitalization. Systemic elevation of cardiac troponins was correlated with survival, injury severity score, and catecholamine consumption of patients after multiple trauma. The clinical features of the so-called "commotio cordis" are dysrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest as well as wall motion disorders. In trauma patients with inappropriate hypotension and inadequate response to fluid resuscitation, cardiac injury should be considered. Therefore, a combination of echocardiography (ECG) measurements, echocardiography, and systemic appearance of cardiomyocyte damage markers such as troponin appears to be an appropriate diagnostic approach to detect cardiac dysfunction after trauma. However, the mechanisms of post-traumatic cardiac dysfunction are still actively being investigated. This review aims to discuss cardiac damage following trauma, focusing on mechanisms of post-traumatic cardiac dysfunction associated with inflammation and complement activation. Herein, a causal relationship of cardiac dysfunction to traumatic brain injury, blunt chest trauma, multiple trauma, burn injury, psychosocial stress, fracture, and hemorrhagic shock are illustrated and therapeutic options are discussed.

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