Commotio Cordis: one of the leading causes of sudden death in young athletes
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Commotio cordis occurs after a blunt, non-penetrating blow to the precordial area of the chest wall that results in the induction of an often fatal ventricular fibrillation in a heart that does not have a preexisting structural or electrophysiological cardiovascular disease (Yabek, 2011). The blow is often perceived to be irrelevant, yet can cause a debilitating injury or even death. Death may be sudden or after a brief period of lucidity with purposeful movement prior to collapse (Yabek, 2011). The emphasis of commotio cordis in this paper will be on it occurring in sports, as it is most commonly happens there. It has also been known to occur when impact of the chest occurs, such as a steering wheel during a motor vehicle accident, playful boxing, bodily contacts, parental discipline, and even a closed fist punch to the chest (Maron, Goham, Kyle, Estes III, & Link, 2002).
The prevalence of commotion cordis aids in the importance of this paper. Recently, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation stated commotio cordis is one of the leading causes of sudden death in young athletes, only to be exceeded by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and congential coronary artery abnormalities (Yabek, 2011). Over 250 instances have been reported to the US Commotio Cordis Registry since, there is most likely and underestimation of its true incidence since commotio cordis still continues to go unrecognized in many instances and therefore is underreported (Yabek, 2011).
In recognizing the risks of commotio cordis, it is vital to discuss who commotio cordis predominantly occurs in. Commotio cordis is most often seen in young male athletes, in whom a sudden, blunt, nonpenetrating and innocent-appearing trauma to the anterior chest wall which r...
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