What is commotio cordis?
- Chest blow–induced ventricular tachycardia and cardiac arrest in the absence of underlying cardiac disease (commotio cordis) is an uncommon, but important cause of sudden death, often in young people.
- Commotio cordis occurs in athletes during competitive or recreational sports or is associated with routine everyday activities.
- Commotio cordis chest blows can be substantial or alternatively appear trivial and counterintuitive.
- Timely recognition of a commotio cordis event is paramount, as cardiac arrest is reversible with prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation / defibrillation.
- Although incompletely understood, the mechanism of commotio cordis requires a precise timing of the blow over the heart to a narrow 20 ms window at the upstroke of the T wave.
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