Medical Definition of Commotio cordis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Commotio cordis: Sudden cardiac arrest from a blunt, nonpenetrating blow to the chest. The basis of the cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation (a chaotically abnormal heart rhythm) triggered by chest wall impact immediately over the anatomic position of the heart. This can happen, for example, in sports such with baseballs, softballs, lacrosse balls, hockey pucks and a blow in boxing. The only effective treatment is cardiopulmonary resuscitation with defibrillation to reverse ventricular fibrillation. Commotio cordis ia also known as a "concussion of the heart."

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018