Evaluation of Chest Barriers for Protection Against Sudden Death Due to Commotio Cordis

Joseph J. Doerer, Tammy S. Haas, N. A.Mark Estes, Mark S. Link, Barry J. Maron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Blunt precordial blows triggering ventricular fibrillation (commotio cordis) represent a leading cause of sudden death in young athletes. Attention has focused on the primary prevention of these tragedies with chest barriers. The U.S. Commotio Cordis Registry was accessed to determine the likelihood of sudden death in athletes exposed to precordial blows while wearing chest protectors. Of 182 cases of commotio cordis, 85 (47%) occurred during practice or competition in organized sports. In 32 of these 85 competitive athletes (38%), fatal chest blows occurred despite the presence of potentially protective equipment. Athletes wore standard, commercially available chest barriers made of polymer foam covered by fabric or hard shells, generally perceived as protective from arrhythmic consequences of the blows. These events occurred in 4 sports: hockey (n = 13; 1 goalie), football (n = 10), lacrosse (n = 6; 3 goalies), and baseball (n = 3; all catchers). Scenarios included the failure of the padding to cover the precordium so that blows circumvented the protective barrier (n = 25) or projectiles that struck the chest barrier directly (n = 7). In conclusion, a significant proportion (about 40%) of sudden deaths reported in young competitive athletes due to blunt chest blows (commotio cordis) occur despite the presence of commercially available sports equipment generally perceived as protective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-859
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Volume99
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2007

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Commotio Cordis
Sudden Death
Athletes
Thorax
Sports
Sports Equipment
Racquet Sports
Hockey
Baseball
Football
Ventricular Fibrillation
Primary Prevention
Registries
Cause of Death
Polymers
Equipment and Supplies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Evaluation of Chest Barriers for Protection Against Sudden Death Due to Commotio Cordis. / Doerer, Joseph J.; Haas, Tammy S.; Estes, N. A.Mark; Link, Mark S.; Maron, Barry J.

In: American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 99, No. 6, 15.03.2007, p. 857-859.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Doerer, Joseph J. ; Haas, Tammy S. ; Estes, N. A.Mark ; Link, Mark S. ; Maron, Barry J. / Evaluation of Chest Barriers for Protection Against Sudden Death Due to Commotio Cordis. In: American Journal of Cardiology. 2007 ; Vol. 99, No. 6. pp. 857-859.
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