We investigated the effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on cardiac damage after blunt chest injury. Forty male adult Wistar albino rats were divided into four groups; control, cardiac contusion, cardiac contusion + CAPE, and CAPE. CAPE, 10 mmol/kg, was administered intraperitoneally for 7 days following cardiac contusion. Heart tissue and blood were obtained at the end of the experimental period. Cardiac histopathology was determined using hematoxylin & eosin (H & E) staining. Expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in cardiomyocytes was determined using immunohistochemistry. Cardiac apoptosis was determined using the TUNEL method. Serum creatine kinase (CK), creatine kinase-muscle/brain (CK-MB) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels were determined using spectrophotometric methods. The serum cardiac troponin I (C-TI) level was measured using the ELISA method. Myofibril loss was detected in the cardiomyocytes of the cardiac contusion group. Increased apoptosis and TNF-alpha expression were observed in the cardiac contusion group compared to the control group. Increased CK, CK-MB, LDH and C-TI levels were found in the cardiac contusion group. We found that CAPE administration improved myocardial function. Compared to the cardiac contusion group, CK, CK-MB, LDH and C-TI levels decreased significantly in the cardiac contusion + CAPE group. Administration of CAPE significantly inhibited apoptosis and cardiac TNF-alpha expression. Our findings demonstrate the therapeutic effects of CAPE for cardiac contusion damage after blunt chest trauma.