Pericardial rupture leading to cardiac herniation after blunt trauma

Timothy Guenther, Tanya Rinderknecht, Ho Phan, Curtis Wozniak, Victor Rodriquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pericardial rupture with cardiac herniation is a rare traumatic injury with an estimated incidence of 0.37% after blunt trauma. Most commonly occurring after high-speed impact, such as in motor vehicle or motorcycle collisions, pericardial rupture is associated with a high mortality rate. Radiologic diagnosis can be challenging; cross-sectional imaging findings can be suggestive of pericardial rupture but are often non–specific, and echocardiography windows are often obscured. Definitive diagnosis is generally made intra-operatively. Treatment involves reduction of the heart into normal anatomic position with repair of the pericardium, either primarily or with a patch. Fewer than 60 cases of pericardial rupture from blunt trauma have been reported in the literature. We describe a 65 year old poly-trauma patient who sustained pericardial rupture with subsequent cardiac herniation with cardiovascular collapse, and we discuss the considerations and complexities of his successful repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100309
JournalTrauma Case Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Cardiac herniation
  • Cardiac subluxation
  • Cardiac trauma
  • Pericardial rupture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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