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Question about Commotio cordis
AvalonsDaughter posted:
I am one of those rare survivors of commotio cordis. I was in a major car accident and was lucky to have survived. I spent 3 days in the cardiac unit, but no one really told me about what was going on. It was very frustrating, when I asked they gave medical terms and what not, but not really telling me about it. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and during that time they just told me "Oh it is nothing to worry about, your fine" and that was all I ever got for info.

Recently my current general practicioner mentioned it and what it was called ( commotio cordis ) so when I got home I looked it up. Turns out it IS something to worry about, since it is pretty darn rare to survive!

My question is not about what happened then but on what I should do about it NOW, if anything. What are the long term effects of this, what precautions should I take in the future? I am an avid snowmobile and ATV rider, and wonder if I should wear chest protection when I ride? (Like dirt bike chest plates?) If I am more susceptible to injury to my heart, or heart issues because of this injury?
James Beckerman, MD, FACC responded:
These are great questions. I'm not quite certain based on your explanation that you definitely had commotio cordis as opposed to having a myocardial contusion (like a bruise) on your heart as a result of your car accident. Chest protectors are sometimes used or recommended in people who participate in contact sports (or recreation), but we do not have very good data as to how effective they are in preventing events - because commotio cordis is quite uncommon.
AvalonsDaughter replied to James Beckerman, MD, FACC's response:
Thank you for your great reply! I am not truly certain either! Both terms were used, however my GP had read commotio cordis somewhere in my file, but didnt really explain it to me. I have actually requested my medical records be mailed to me so that I can read them for myself...But the other day on an atv trip the thought of chest protection came up when a pheasant flew up off the trail and smacked into me! As odd as that may sound it is the 2nd time in 2 yrs that it has happened, with an increase in the bird population on the trails, they have been "dropping in" on unsuspecting riders quite often!

Thank you for your help!

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