Can cardiac death occur after a blunt injury?
The postmortem report of Delhi police constable Subhash Tomar has reportedly stated that the cardiac arrest was precipitated by blunt injuries to his neck and chest.
Constable Tomar who died at RML Hospital in Delhi probably died of a heart attack. Whether or not he sustained some injuries from the protesting crowd, it cannot be denied that he was received in hospital in a state of cardiac arrest. He was revived for some time but ultimately succumbed to the consequences of cardiac arrest.
So can blunt injury precipitate sudden cardiac death? Commotio cordis is an event, which occurs as a result of a blunt, non-penetrating and often innocent-appearing blow to the chest wall directly over the heart. This induces instantaneous ventricular fibrillation leading to sudden cardiac arrest. The person collapses and stops breathing. It becomes crucial to act fast. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and if available, use of automated external defibrillator (AED) will help revive the patient. If not, the outcomes are tragic with sudden cardiac death.
This incident again is a reminder of the fact that all of us need to learn CPR and act in time. A successful resuscitation is only possible if it is done by bystanders within 10 minutes of death, earlier the better.
Remember the CPR mantra "within 10 minutes of death, earlier the better, at least for the next 10 minutes, longer the better, compress the centre of the chest of the victim effectively and continuously with a speed of 10x10 i.e. 100 per minute."