Epidemiology, Pathology, Assessment, Clinical Profile, Management, and Preventative Measures of Commotio Cordis
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Commotio Cordis (CC) is a phenomenon in which a sudden, blunt impact to the chest wall results in sudden death in the absence of heart disease or cardiac damage (Link, 2012). The true prevalence of CC is unknown due to the under-recognition of the condition among the medical and lay communities. It is a devastating event in which the epidemiology primarily affects young, male athletes. The mechanism of sudden death appears to be multi-factorial and requires the confluence of several determinants, which result in ventricular fibrillation (VF). Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with rapid defibrillation is the accepted life-saving treatment for VF. Having an automated external defibrillator (AED) readily available may improve outcome. Safety baseballs and chest protectors are one area of focus in the primary prevention of CC. Secondary preventative measures include providing access to AEDs in athletic settings and providing education regarding their use. Increasing public awareness of commotio cordis as an important cause of sudden death in athletes may ultimately reduce this increasingly recognized tragic event.