According to researchers at the Hopkins Heart Institute, a blunt and apparently innocent blow to the chest may cause sudden cardiac death. When it comes to accidents and sports injuries, it is a blow on the head that most people fear. According to researchers, at the a blow to the chest may prove more hazardous.
The researchers looked at 100 cases of a rare type of cardiac arrest called commotio cordis, which occurred after a blow on the chest. As many as 80 per cent of these individuals died, while resuscitation saved the lives of 19 others (the remaining two recovered spontaneously). The type of blow that causes commotio cordis lands directly over the heart, is non-penetrating, and occurs at a specific phase of the heart beat.
Most such injuries occur during sports like baseball, hockey, softball or soccer. They may also occur during 'shadow' boxing or while intervening in a scuffle. The study makes a case for better protective clothing in sports where the chest is exposed, and for more widespread availability of resuscitation equipment in sports facilities.