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January 12, 1935


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, the Lakeside Hospital and the Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1935;104(2):109-114. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760020025007

Most wounds of the heart are of the penetrating variety; i.e., they are produced by stabs or bullets that penetrate the heart.1 However, there is another type of cardiac trauma not produced by penetration of the body, and it is this nonpenetrating type of trauma that I shall discuss. In the past, surprisingly little consideration has been given to this subject. The literature on this subject consists almost entirely of anatomic descriptions of hearts that had ruptured following compression or contusion of the body. Only a few discussions on the clinical manifestations of cardiac contusion could be found, and it would seem that the surgical aspects of the subject have been almost entirely neglected.

One is accustomed to look on the heart as an organ that almost always escapes any of the ordinary injuries to which the rest of the body is subjected. The thoracic cage affords what is