The first description of a cardiac injury is found in The Iliad. Cardiac injuries are one of the most challenging injuries, requiring immediate surgical intervention, excellent surgical skills and critical care. The clinical presentation of penetrating cardiac injuries has a broad range, from haemodynamic stability to cardiopulmonary arrest. Two-dimensional echocardiography is now the procedure of choice over subxiphoid pericardial window to evaluate for the presence of these injuries. Emergency department thoracotomy is indicated for management of penetrating cardiac injuries with immediate cardiography, aortic cross-clamping and open cardiac massage. The left anterolateral thoracotomy is the incision of choice for patients that arrive in extremis. The repair of the wounds should be performed according to the anatomy of the injured area. Mortality remains high, although better patient selection according to physiologic scoring leads to increase in survival.
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