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Denmark Christian Eriksen’s Cardiac Arrest Should Be A Lesson For All: CPR Matters

Denmark Christian Eriksen’s Cardiac Arrest Should Be A Lesson For All: CPR Matters 557 524 Taiwo Adeshigbin

Denmark star Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest against Finland during the Euro 2020. He is alive because of the early recognition from his teammates, match officials and medical staff. Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen said, Eriksen was “gone”, before being resuscitated with a defibrillator on Saturday.

Boesen announced on Thursday that Eriksen would receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, a device that addresses irregular heart rhythms.

“I don’t know anyone that has gone back to a professional sport with that (pacemaker),” said Dr. Michael Kralik, who specializes in cardiovascular surgeries.

“In my experience, it’s a career-ending episode,” Kralik added. “I’m hoping and praying that they find something they can quickly fix so he can go back to play. But generally, the doctors will tell him they can’t guarantee this won’t happen again.”

“I see athletes saying, it’s something I don’t want to risk again.”


What lies ahead for Ericksen?

Kralik said once the athlete receives treatment — whether that’s an application of a defibrillator, heart surgery, or medication— the athlete will complete rehabilitation to monitor their heart response performing various activities. An athlete may return to some level of activity but usually not in a high-intensity professional environment.

“Going through cardiac rehabilitation under supervision, and once they do that, they will be able to return to a certain level of activity,” Kralik said.


What signs indicated Ericksen had a cardiac arrest?

During the soccer match, Ericksen was running to receive a ball and suddenly he fell face-first to the ground — without receiving contact.

According to Panhuyzen-Goedkoop et. al (2017), the way an athlete falls to the ground can lead one to suspect a cardiac-related event. An athlete may collapse face down, bend forward with their arms on knees and suddenly fall backward, or collapse to their knee and attempt to stand up, then fall face forward. The athlete will may then experience loss of normal breathing with eyes may appearing wide with fixed pupils.


What helped successfully bring Ericksen back to life?

There was no time wasted checking Ericksen’s airway. Medical staff immediately implemented CPR and the use of a defibrillator to restore his heart rhythm.

In the article, “Early recognition of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes”, the survival rate was higher in sports participants (22.8%) compared with the overall population (8%).

The likelihood is higher in sporting events because medical staff know CPR and have the necessary equipment to execute in a timely fashion. The survival rate for the general population is even less because most aren’t expecting it to happen.


What does this incident mean for the general population?

“Thank goodness they (medical staff) were educated,” Kralik said, “This is something that has to be universal knowledge.”

A heart blood flow deviation may or may not present with symptoms. Symptoms can result in chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, and even sudden cardiac death. Hence why all need to understand basic CPR.

Ericksen collapsing on the field is a traumatizing experience, but people seeing the footage — if the athlete allows — could encourage the public to take action, Dr. Kralik said. It will help people realize the five or six hours spent learning CPR will be helpful.

American Heart Association (https://www.heart.org/) offers many resources and courses that could be the difference between life and death.