Can a Car Crash Cause a Heart Attack?

Car Accidents,Personal Injury • February 12, 2024

Car crashes are devastating events, both physically and emotionally. The instantaneous trauma, the rush of adrenaline, and the aftermath of such incidents can deeply impact survivors in more ways than one might anticipate. Beyond fractures and bruises lies a concern that is often overlooked: the potential for a car crash to precipitate a heart attack.

While it’s widely recognized that collisions can result in visible physical injuries, understanding the less apparent medical consequences like heart attacks offers crucial insight into their far-reaching effects on health. A Jersey City car accident attorney is prepared to help if you or a loved one suffered injuries in a preventable collision.

How Car Accidents Cause Heart Attacks

Car accidents can trigger heart attacks through a variety of mechanisms. Here are some examples:

Physical Trauma

Certain types of physical trauma can lead to heart attack after a car accident:

Direct Impact to The Chest: Forceful collisions can lead to significant damage to the chest area and, consequently, cause harm to the heart muscles or arteries. This force could rupture any existing arterial plaques inside your blood vessels leading to a block in blood circulation towards the heart – beginning a chain reaction that ends in a heart attack.

Blunt Force Trauma: The intense crash impact absorbed by the body even without direct chest blows may sometimes result in internal injuries or stress that interrupts regular cardiac function, thereby elevating your chances of experiencing a heart attack.

Emotional Trauma

The emotional toll of a car accident can also precipitate heart-related health issues:

Emotional Stress: Intense situations like car accidents trigger an immediate and sharp release of adrenaline and other stress hormones, which constitute the body’s “fight or flight” response. This sudden jolt to your system increases your heartbeat and blood pressure, potentially overburdening the cardiovascular system. For those already at risk, such heightened states can set off a heart attack.

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy: In the wake of extreme emotional stress, such as that experienced during a car crash, individuals might develop Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. Often dubbed “broken heart syndrome,” this condition mimics the symptoms of a heart attack and is characterized by temporary weakening of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle). This condition shows that severe emotional disturbance can directly impact heart health.

Underlying Health Conditions

Car accidents can become particularly dangerous for individuals harboring pre-existing heart issues such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, or those with a history of heart attacks. The added stress and physical trauma ensuing from the collision could worsen these conditions, increasing the risk of a heart attack.

Indirect Factors

Indirect factors following a car accident can also contribute to the risk of heart attacks in an individual:

Delayed Medical Attention

Injuries from car crashes might overshadow heart attack symptoms, leading to delayed recognition and treatment for a cardiac event. Misinterpreting increasing chest pains as accident-induced trauma rather than imminent signs of cardiac arrest can aggravate the situation.

Post-Accident Lifestyle Factors

Additionally, lifestyle shifts following a car crash, such as lowered physical activity due to sustained injuries or increased reliance on habits like smoking for stress relief, can indirectly increase the risk of experiencing a heart attack.

What to Do If You Experience a Heart Attack After a Car Crash

If you suspect a car accident has induced a heart attack, responding in time with the appropriate steps is critical:

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Your first priority should always be to seek immediate medical care. Any sign of chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath, among other heart attack symptoms, should not be taken lightly.

Document Everything

Ensure that every symptom experienced after the crash is noted and reported to your doctor as it can contribute to precise diagnosis as well as help establish a tangible link between your accident and the heart issue. Retain detailed records of all medical appointments, treatments, and diagnostic tests and their results.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

Consulting with an experienced Jersey City personal injury lawyer is highly recommended to understand what to do next. Reacting swiftly in such situations not just helps prevent serious harm to your health but also preserves your rights to seek legal recourse in the future.

If you need help after a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.