Indexed on: 16 May '06Published on: 16 May '06Published in: Forensic Science International
To investigate the morphology and hemodynamics of the early myocardial contusion, an animal model of cardiac contusion was established by impact to the precordial region at sternum at velocity of 10.0m/s with a mechanical elastic-cord propelled impactor in 19 dogs. The electrocardiogram and both the left and right intra-ventricular pressures were recorded continuously throughout the experiment. Histological and immunohistochemical examinations of myoglobin, creatine kinase-MB and fibrinogen were conducted. At the moment of impact, abrupt over-pressures within the left and right ventricles occurred with concomitant serious arrhythmias followed by variety of cardiac conduction disorders and depressed left and right ventricular systolic pressures during the observation times. Histologically, lesions of myocardial contusions were identified at subepicardial, myocardial or subendocardial layer as interstitial hemorrhage, disruption or coagulative necrosis as well as contraction band necrosis of the muscle fibers, which might be categorized into the hemorrhagic, necrotized and mixed forms. The three forms of lesions were found to exist independently, or co-existed in a heart. However, severity of the lesions varied greatly with different parts even within a heart. Intravascular thromboses were occasionally discovered post-impact. Immunohistochemically, loss of myoglobin and creatine kinase-MB from cardiac cells, and accumulation of fibrinogen at the cell membranes were detected 5min post-impact. The intracellular accumulation of fibrinogen increased with extension of post-impact intervals. Our results indicate that diverse morphological lesions concomitant with hemodynamic compromise and serious, even fatal arrhythmias occur in the early myocardial contusion, and intravascular thromboses are occasionally produced, suggesting that traumatic myocardial ischemic lesion may be induced due to blunt impact to the precordial region.