Can Car Crashes Directly Cause Heart Attacks?

Heart attacks are most often the result of pre-existing health conditions influenced by environmental factors or genetics. However, traumatic events such as car crashes may directly cause heart attacks, leading to severe personal injury in Oregon car accidents. Other injuries to the heart are more commonly the result of car accidents and should be treated with immediate medical attention.

Car Accident Injuries and Heart Attacks

Myocardial infarctions, more commonly referred to as heart attacks, may directly result from a car accident. However, more common car accident injuries that result in damage to the heart are known as cardiac contusions. Blunt impact injuries to the chest are one cause of cardiac contusions. Deceleration injuries also cause cardiac contusions and occur when the body’s motion is suddenly halted, potentially leading to severe bruising of the heart’s muscle.

A bruise to the heart is a cardiac contusion. While it is not a heart attack, the symptoms of a cardiac contusion and a heart attack may be similar. Either event with the heart is critical, requiring medical attention. A cardiac contusion most often impacts the heart’s chamber responsible for transporting blood into the lungs, where it replenishes with oxygen.

How Car Accidents Cause Heart Contusions

Cardiac contusions often result from forceful impacts to the chest. Broken or fractured ribs or a rupturing of the sternum are common with a cardiac contusion. Arrhythmia and hypotension may result from these injuries. Cardiac contusions may produce critical rhythm disturbances, aortic rupture, septum fracture, or cause the heart’s chambers to fail from impact with:

  • The steering wheel
  • Airbags, particularly when a seat belt is not worn
  • The dashboard or any part of the vehicle when the body is unrestrained
  • The seatbelt’s restraining pressure

Cardiac contusions may also occur when a car’s occupants are ejected from a vehicle. These injuries may occur to motorcyclists as well when blunt force trauma occurs.

Symptoms of Cardiac Contusion

Symptoms may vary among individuals. Any pain in the chest area after a car accident should be addressed immediately. Common symptoms of cardiac contusion may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sharp pain above the rib area
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

More severe cardiac contusions may lead an individual to believe they are experiencing a heart attack. The symptoms of both medical events are similar, and one may be confused with the other.

What to do Following a Car Accident

Getting prompt medical care following an Oregon car accident can rule out serious trauma or diagnose life-threatening injuries such as cardiac contusions. Immediate treatment can prevent the worsening of any condition, helping you or someone you care about return to a healthy life sooner. Individuals often forego extensive medical screening because of the concern over cost.

Not only does this create health complications, but it may lead to the loss of vital documentation to recover compensation in a Portland, OR personal injury case.

Medical Care Compensation for Cardiac Events Resulting From a Car Accident

An insurance settlement covers damages for personal injury caused by a car accident. Filing a lawsuit may be necessary when insurance companies fail to recognize these damages resulting from a car accident in Oregon. Understanding your options for compensation for a personal injury can provide insight into the help available to you.