Thursday 18 July 2019

Mother saves teen son with CPR after sliotar blow stopped his heart

Stock photo: Sportsfile
Stock photo: Sportsfile

Gordon Deegan

A mother helped save her teenage son's life after a sliotar blow to his chest stopped his heart beating.

The woman - who is a nurse - ran on to the pitch and started to perform CPR on her son after seeing him collapse and determining that there was no pulse.

The boy had the cardiac arrest after receiving the sliotar blow to the left of his chest.

The boy's heart stopped beating for less than four minutes. Along with the CPR, a defibrillator was applied and one shock delivered achieved return of spontaneous circulation.

The incident was outlined in a paper in the June edition of the 'Irish Medical Journal'.

Medics state that "prompt resuscitation and automated external defibrillation (AED) enabled a full recovery".

The medics at Galway University Hospital and Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, stated that the incident is the first reported case of commotio cordis (CC) caused by a sliotar.

Commotio cordis is an often lethal disruption of heart rhythm that occurs as a result of a blow to the area directly over the heart at a critical time during the cycle of a heartbeat, causing cardiac arrest.

The medics in the paper stated that while there is a commotio cordis registry in the US, this does not exist in Europe and CC is likely under-reported here.

"Considering that most CC cases occur in adolescents and have a high mortality rate, timely management of cardiac arrest is key," it said.

In the incident, an ambulance arrived on site and the boy had a normal examination and electrocardiogram (ECG) for his heart on admission to hospital.

In hospital, the teenager was advised not to return to competitive sport for three months while beta-blockade therapy was continued during this period.

In their discussion of the incident, the medics said that primary prevention of CC centres around the use of protective chest wall shields or of soft balls. However, they said even when worn chest shields are not wholly protective against CC.

Replacing the sliotar with a soft ball is unlikely to be acceptable as the fundamental characteristics of hurling would be significantly altered and CC is such a rare event.

They stated that efforts should instead focus on the response to cardiac arrest and that CPR training and rapid access to AEDs are lifesaving measures, as seen in this case.

But there is no mandated upkeep of voluntary AEDs nor an AED registry in Ireland.

They added: "We believe that prompt access to existing, well-maintained AEDs, effective CPR and integration with emergency services will improve survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests whether from rare causes like CC or more common causes."

Irish Independent

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