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1.  Commotio Cordis 
Sports Health  2009;1(2):174-179.
Commotio cordis is blunt, nonpenetrating trauma to the chest resulting in irregular heart rhythm and often leading to sudden death. This article presents the epidemiology, variables leading to commotio cordis, theories on predisposing factors, diagnosis, treatment, treatment outcomes, and return-to-play recommendations.
Evidence Acquisition:
A PubMed (MEDLINE) search for commotio cordis was conducted on July 1, 2008, and it yielded 106 results, of which 26 were used for this review, including experimental models, simulation studies, case analysis studies, case reports, general recommendation, review articles, and editorials.
There are more than 190 reported cases of commotio cordis in the United States. Forty-seven percent of reported cases occurred during athletic participation. Commotio cordis is the second-most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes. Occurrence of commotio cordis is related to time of impact during the cardiac cycle, direct impact over the heart, the hardness and speed of the projectile, and the ineffectiveness of chest barriers. As a result, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that softer “safety” baseballs be used for youth baseball. Resuscitation using defibrillation was effective in only 15% of cases. Resuscitation within 3 minutes resulted in a survival rate of 25% (17 of 68 cases). Survival drops to 3% when resuscitation is delayed beyond 3 minutes. Survival of commotio cordis has risen from 10% to 15% since 2001. Reduced ventricular ejection fraction has been identified in some commotio cordis survivors.
Preventive measures, such as using soft “safety” balls and making automated external defibrillators available at sporting venues, can reduce commotio cordis morbidity and mortality. Chest protector designs can be improved to enhance protection. Return to play is best left to clinical judgment given that data are lacking with regard to susceptibility for reoccurrence.
PMCID: PMC3445066  PMID: 23015869
athlete; commotio cordis; sudden cardiac death
2.  Sudden cardiac death following blunt chest trauma: commotio cordis 
There have been numerous reports of sudden cardiac death attributable to the condition of commotio cordis. Primarily, these are reports from the USA. Although three Australian cases have been mentioned in the published literature, the present case appears to be the first described Australian case.
A man was brought to the Emergency Department after sudden collapse while playing cricket. His medical history was suggestive of hitting by a cricket ball while batting.
The epidemiology and mechanism of arrhythmia induction in commotio cordis are discussed. The emergency management of commotio cordis is outlined.
Commotio cordis is rare in sports (and Emergency Medicine). However it has a high mortality rate, and rapid recognition of the condition allows early defibrillation, generally with a good outcome. The improvement of participant care is recommended at community and other sport events.
PMCID: PMC4129707  PMID: 25215017
Arrhythmia; Sudden cardiac death; Commotio cordis; Cricket
3.  Commotio cordis and ventricular pseudoaneurysm 
A case of an eight-year-old boy who experienced commotio cordis with the development of myocardial infarction and a ventricular pseudoaneurysm is described. Progressive enlargement of the aneurysm resulted in distortion and compression of the overlying coronary arteries, causing myocardial ischemia.
PMCID: PMC2706764  PMID: 19340350
Aneurysm; Arrhythmia; Myocardial infarction; Pediatrics; Ventricles
4.  Commotio cordis: a precordial thump? 
Heart  1999;82(4):534.
PMCID: PMC1760271  PMID: 10576913
5.  Commotio cordis: sudden death due to chest wall impact in sports 
Heart  1999;82(4):534.
PMCID: PMC1760268  PMID: 10576914
6.  Commotio cordis: sudden death due to chest wall impact in sports 
Heart  1999;81(2):109-110.
PMCID: PMC1728929  PMID: 9922341
7.  Commotio cordis 
PMCID: PMC1724528  PMID: 12145110
8.  Commotio cordis: early observations 
Heart  1999;82(3):397.
PMCID: PMC1729181  PMID: 10515692
9.  Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia 
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D) is a heart muscle disease clinically characterized by life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Its prevalence has been estimated to vary from 1:2,500 to 1:5,000. ARVC/D is a major cause of sudden death in the young and athletes. The pathology consists of a genetically determined dystrophy of the right ventricular myocardium with fibro-fatty replacement to such an extent that it leads to right ventricular aneurysms. The clinical picture may include: a subclinical phase without symptoms and with ventricular fibrillation being the first presentation; an electrical disorder with palpitations and syncope, due to tachyarrhythmias of right ventricular origin; right ventricular or biventricular pump failure, so severe as to require transplantation. The causative genes encode proteins of mechanical cell junctions (plakoglobin, plakophilin, desmoglein, desmocollin, desmoplakin) and account for intercalated disk remodeling. Familiar occurrence with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance and variable penetrance has been proven. Recessive variants associated with palmoplantar keratoderma and woolly hair have been also reported. Clinical diagnosis may be achieved by demonstrating functional and structural alterations of the right ventricle, depolarization and repolarization abnormalities, arrhythmias with the left bundle branch block morphology and fibro-fatty replacement through endomyocardial biopsy. Two dimensional echo, angiography and magnetic resonance are the imaging tools for visualizing structural-functional abnormalities. Electroanatomic mapping is able to detect areas of low voltage corresponding to myocardial atrophy with fibro-fatty replacement. The main differential diagnoses are idiopathic right ventricular outflow tract tachycardia, myocarditis, dialted cardiomyopathy and sarcoidosis. Only palliative therapy is available and consists of antiarrhythmic drugs, catheter ablation and implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Young age, family history of juvenile sudden death, QRS dispersion ≥ 40 ms, T-wave inversion, left ventricular involvement, ventricular tachycardia, syncope and previous cardiac arrest are the major risk factors for adverse prognosis. Preparticipation screening for sport eligibility has been proven to be effective in detecting asymptomatic patients and sport disqualification has been life-saving, substantially declining sudden death in young athletes.
PMCID: PMC2222049  PMID: 18001465
10.  Association of Early Repolarization Pattern on ECG with Risk of Cardiac and All-Cause Mortality: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study (MONICA/KORA) 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000314.
In a population-based cohort study of middle-aged people in Central Europe, Stefan Kääb and colleagues find an association between electrocardiographic early repolarization pattern and mortality risk.
Early repolarization pattern (ERP) on electrocardiogram was associated with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest in a case-control study and with cardiovascular mortality in a Finnish community-based sample. We sought to determine ERP prevalence and its association with cardiac and all-cause mortality in a large, prospective, population-based case-cohort study (Monitoring of Cardiovascular Diseases and Conditions [MONICA]/KORA [Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg]) comprised of individuals of Central-European descent.
Methods and Findings
Electrocardiograms of 1,945 participants aged 35–74 y, representing a source population of 6,213 individuals, were analyzed applying a case-cohort design. Mean follow-up was 18.9 y. Cause of death was ascertained by the 9th revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-9) codes as documented in death certificates. ERP-attributable effects on mortality were determined by a weighted Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for covariables. Prevalence of ERP was 13.1% in our study. ERP was associated with cardiac and all-cause mortality, most pronounced in those of younger age and male sex; a clear ERP-age interaction was detected (p = 0.005). Age-stratified analyses showed hazard ratios (HRs) for cardiac mortality of 1.96 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05–3.68, p = 0.035) for both sexes and 2.65 (95% CI 1.21–5.83, p = 0.015) for men between 35–54 y. An inferior localization of ERP further increased ERP-attributable cardiac mortality to HRs of 3.15 (95% CI 1.58–6.28, p = 0.001) for both sexes and to 4.27 (95% CI 1.90–9.61, p<0.001) for men between 35–54 y. HRs for all-cause mortality were weaker but reached significance.
We found a high prevalence of ERP in our population-based cohort of middle-aged individuals. ERP was associated with about a 2- to 4-fold increased risk of cardiac mortality in individuals between 35 and 54 y. An inferior localization of ERP was associated with a particularly increased risk.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Cardiovascular diseases—disorders that affect the heart and the circulation—are the leading cause of death in the developed world. About half of cardiovascular deaths occur when the heart suddenly stops pumping (sudden cardiac arrest). The muscular walls of the four heart chambers contract in a set pattern to pump blood around the body. The heart's internal electrical system controls the rate and rhythm of these contractions and, if this system goes wrong, an abnormal heart beat or “arrhythmia” develops. Some arrhythmias—in particular, ventricular fibrillation in which the walls of the two lower heart chambers quiver or “fibrillate” instead of pumping—can cause sudden cardiac arrest and immediate loss of consciousness. Death follows within minutes in 95% of cases but immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR; chest compression to pump the heart and inflation of the lungs by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) can keep a person alive until a defibrillator can be used to restore the normal heart beat. People who survive sudden cardiac arrest can be given anti-arrhythmia drugs or have a pacemaker implanted to stabilize their heart beat.
Why Was This Study Done?
The beating heart generates tiny electric waves that can be detected by electrodes on the skin. The pattern of these waves (an electrocardiogram or ECG) provides information about the heart's health. One wave pattern that is often seen on ECGs is the “early repolarization pattern” (ERP), which some studies suggest is associated with an increased risk of cardiac death. Here, the researchers investigate the prevalence of ERP (the proportion of a population with ERP) and its association with death from heart-related problems (cardiac mortality) and from any cause (all-cause mortality) in the MONICA/KORA prospective, population-based case-cohort study. The MONICA Project (MONitoring of Trends and Determinants in CArdiovascular Disease) has studied cardiovascular disease in 10 million people in 21 countries; KORA denotes the study done in the Augsburg region of Germany. In a prospective study, specific baseline characteristics of the study's participants are determined and the participants are followed to see who experiences a predefined outcome. A case-cohort study investigates a randomly selected subcohort (subgroup) of the original participants of a study and any participants who experience the predefined outcome instead of all the participants.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers selected 1945 MONIKA/KORA participants aged 35–74 years from a source population of about 6,000 people using a case-cohort study design. They analyzed the ECGs (recorded in 1984–1985 or 1989–1990) of this subcohort and ascertained the cause of death for those participants who died during the 18.9 year average follow-up. The overall prevalence of ERP in the study was 13.1%, report the researchers, and ERP was associated with cardiac mortality, particularly among younger and male participants. Specifically, among men and women aged 35–54 years, having ERP was associated with a nearly doubled risk of cardiac death. Among men aged 35–54 years, having ERP was associated with an increase in the risk of cardiac death by 2.65-fold. An ERP localized to the bottom of the heart (inferior localization) was associated with an increased risk of cardiac death among both sexes by more than 3-fold and among men by more than 4-fold in this age group. Finally, ERP was also significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality but less strongly than with cardiac mortality.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the prevalence of ERP among the middle-aged people in the MONICA/KORA study is high (and somewhat higher than previously reported). They also show a clear association between ERP and the risk of cardiac death among 35–54-year-old people, particularly among men, but because of the study design, these findings do not show that ERP actually causes cardiac death; it could simply be a susceptibility marker. The researchers note that the increased risk of cardiac death associated with ERP is of a similar size to that associated with some other ECG abnormalities. However, although it might be worth paying special attention to young people with an inferior localization of ERP, finding ERP in a person without symptoms and without a family history of sudden cardiac death should not lead to further investigations or any preventative therapy, they suggest, because the absolute risk of cardiac arrest in such people is very low.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on cardiovascular conditions, including sudden cardiac arrest and on arrhythmias
The American Heart Association also information on sudden cardiac death and on arrhythmias
The German Cardiac Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Kardiologie) and the German Heart Foundation (Deutsche Herzstiftung) provide further information (in German) on cardiovascular conditions
The Heart Rhythm Foundation provides information on all aspects of heart arrhythmia
The Fondation Leducq Alliance Against Sudden Cardiac Death provides information on sudden cardiac arrest
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about cardiac arrest and arrhythmias (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on electrocardiograms (in English and Spanish)
The Nobel Foundation provides an interactive electrocardiogram game
More information about the MONICA project and the KORA Study or is available
PMCID: PMC2910598  PMID: 20668657
11.  Significance of deep T-wave inversions in asymptomatic athletes with normal cardiovascular examinations: practical solutions for managing the diagnostic conundrum 
British Journal of Sports Medicine  2012;46(Suppl_1):i51-i58.
Preparticipation screening programmes for underlying cardiac pathologies are now commonplace for many international sporting organisations. However, providing medical clearance for an asymptomatic athlete without a family history of sudden cardiac death (SCD) is especially challenging when the athlete demonstrates particularly abnormal repolarisation patterns, highly suggestive of an inherited cardiomyopathy or channelopathy. Deep T-wave inversions of ≥2 contiguous anterior or lateral leads (but not aVR, and III) are of major concern for sports cardiologists who advise referring team physicians, as these ECG alterations are a recognised manifestation of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). Subsequently, inverted T-waves may represent the first and only sign of an inherited heart muscle disease, in the absence of any other features and before structural changes in the heart can be detected. However, to date, there remains little evidence that deep T-wave inversions are always pathognomonic of either a cardiomyopathy or an ion channel disorder in an asymptomatic athlete following long-term follow-up.
This paper aims to provide a systematic review of the prevalence of T-wave inversion in athletes and examine T-wave inversion and its relationship to structural heart disease, notably HCM and ARVC with a view to identify young athletes at risk of SCD during sport. Finally, the review proposes clinical management pathways (including genetic testing) for asymptomatic athletes demonstrating significant T-wave inversion with structurally normal hearts.
PMCID: PMC3603779  PMID: 23097480
12.  Increased Vulnerability of Human Ventricle to Re-entrant Excitation in hERG-linked Variant 1 Short QT Syndrome 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(12):e1002313.
The short QT syndrome (SQTS) is a genetically heterogeneous condition characterized by abbreviated QT intervals and an increased susceptibility to arrhythmia and sudden death. This simulation study identifies arrhythmogenic mechanisms in the rapid-delayed rectifier K+ current (IKr)-linked SQT1 variant of the SQTS. Markov chain (MC) models were found to be superior to Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) models in reproducing experimental data regarding effects of the N588K mutation on KCNH2-encoded hERG. These ionic channel models were then incorporated into human ventricular action potential (AP) models and into 1D and 2D idealised and realistic transmural ventricular tissue simulations and into a 3D anatomical model. In single cell models, the N588K mutation abbreviated ventricular cell AP duration at 90% repolarization (APD90) and decreased the maximal transmural voltage heterogeneity (δV) during APs. This resulted in decreased transmural heterogeneity of APD90 and of the effective refractory period (ERP): effects that are anticipated to be anti-arrhythmic rather than pro-arrhythmic. However, with consideration of transmural heterogeneity of IKr density in the intact tissue model based on the ten Tusscher-Noble-Noble-Panfilov ventricular model, not only did the N588K mutation lead to QT-shortening and increases in T-wave amplitude, but δV was found to be augmented in some local regions of ventricle tissue, resulting in increased tissue vulnerability for uni-directional conduction block and predisposing to formation of re-entrant excitation waves. In 2D and 3D tissue models, the N588K mutation facilitated and maintained re-entrant excitation waves due to the reduced substrate size necessary for sustaining re-entry. Thus, in SQT1 the N588K-hERG mutation facilitates initiation and maintenance of ventricular re-entry, increasing the lifespan of re-entrant spiral waves and the stability of scroll waves in 3D tissue.
Author Summary
Sudden cardiac death may arise in individuals with diseased heart tissue, or in apparently healthy subjects who suffer from genetic defects in ‘ion channel’ proteins, which increase cardiac arrhythmia risk and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. One rare, though serious, genetic condition is the ‘short QT syndrome’ (SQTS). Although it is now known that the KCNH2-encoded N588K-hERG mutation is associated with the main (SQT1) variant of the SQTS, the mechanisms by which ventricular arrhythmia is initiated and sustained are still unclear due to lack of genotypically accurate experimental models. In this study, we used sophisticated multi-scale computer models of human ventricles in order to investigate the pro-arrhythmic effects of the N588K hERG mutation. It was found that the mutation accelerated the ventricular repolarization process, produced augmented electrical heterogeneity in some local regions of the tissue, leading to increased risk of arrhythmia genesis. It was also found that accelerated ventricular repolarization reduced the substrate size of the tissue required to sustain re-entrant circuits in both two and three dimensions. This study provides new mechanistic insight into understanding of how changes to hERG channel function in SQT1 lead to exacerbated ventricular arrhythmia risk in this inherited arrhythmia syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3240585  PMID: 22194679
13.  Life-saving automated external defibrillation in a teenager: a case report 
Adolescent sudden death during sport participation is commonly due to cardiac causes. Survival is more likely when an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used soon after collapse.
Case presentation
We describe a case of sudden death in a 14 year old boy with two remarkable points, successful resuscitation at school using an AED and diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was immediately started by a witness and 5 minutes after the event the child was placed on an AED monitor that determined he was in a non shockable rhythm, therefore CPR was continued. Two minutes later, the AED monitor detected a shockable rhythm and recommended a shock, which was then administered. One minute after the shock, a palpable pulse was detected and the child began to breathe by himself. Four days after cardiac arrest, the boy was conversing and self-caring. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was suggestive of ARVC.
Ventricular fibrillation secondary to ARVC may be a devastating event and places young patients and athletes at high risk of sudden death. Immediate CPR and AED have been demonstrated to be lifesaving in such events. Therefore, we suggest that schools should have teachers skilled in CPR and accessible AEDs.
PMCID: PMC2018713  PMID: 17767706
As the number of youth sports participants continues to rise over the past decade, so too have sports related injuries and emergency department visits. With low levels of oversight and regulation observed in youth sports, the responsibility for safety education of coaches, parents, law makers, organizations and institutions falls largely on the sports medicine practitioner. The highly publicized catastrophic events of concussion, sudden cardiac death, and heat related illness have moved these topics to the forefront of sports medicine discussions. Updated guidelines for concussion in youth athletes call for a more conservative approach to management in both the acute and return to sport phases. Athletes younger than eighteen suspected of having a concussion are no longer allowed to return to play on the same day. Reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death in the young athlete is a multi‐factorial process encompassing pre‐participation screenings, proper use of safety equipment, proper rules and regulations, and immediate access to Automated External Defibrillators (AED) as corner stones. Susceptibility to heat related illness for youth athletes is no longer viewed as rooted in physiologic variations from adults, but instead, as the result of various situations and conditions in which participation takes place. Hydration before, during and after strenuous exercise in a high heat stress environment is of significant importance. Knowledge of identification, management and risk reduction in emergency medical conditions of the young athlete positions the sports physical therapist as an effective provider, advocate and resource for safety in youth sports participation. This manuscript provides the basis for management of 3 major youth emergency sports medicine conditions.
PMCID: PMC3325640  PMID: 22530197
youth sports injuries; sudden cardiac death; concussion; heat related illness; hydration
15.  Mice with cardiac overexpression of PPARγ have impaired repolarization and spontaneous fatal ventricular arrhythmias (Morrow, PPARγ overexpression induces fatal arrhythmias) 
Circulation  2011;124(25):2812-2821.
Diabetes and obesity, which confer an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, are associated with cardiomyocyte lipid accumulation and altered cardiac electrical properties, manifested by prolongation of the QRS duration and QT interval. It is difficult to distinguish the contribution of cardiomyocyte lipid accumulation versus the contribution of global metabolic defects to the increased incidence of sudden death and electrical abnormalities.
Methods and Results
In order to study the effects of metabolic abnormalities on arrhythmias without the complex systemic effects of diabetes and obesity, we studied cardiac-specific transgenic mice expressing PPARγ1 via the cardiac α-myosin heavy-chain promoter. The PPARγ-transgenic mice develop abnormal accumulation of intracellular lipids and die as young adults, prior to a significant reduction in systolic function. Using implantable ECG telemeters, we found that these mice have prolongation of the QRS and QT intervals, and spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias, including polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Isolated cardiomyocytes demonstrated prolonged action potential duration caused by reduced expression and function of the potassium channels responsible for repolarization. Short-term exposure to pioglitazone, a PPARγ agonist, had no effect on mortality or rhythm in WT mice, but further exacerbated the arrhythmic phenotype and increased the mortality in the PPARγ TG mice.
Our findings support an important link between PPARγ activation, cardiomyocyte lipid accumulation, ion channel remodeling and increased cardiac mortality.
PMCID: PMC3258098  PMID: 22124376
arrhythmia; metabolism; ion channels
16.  Inter-Association Task Force Recommendations on Emergency Preparedness and Management of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in High School and College Athletic Programs: A Consensus Statement 
Journal of Athletic Training  2007;42(1):143-158.
Objective: To assist high school and college athletic programs prepare for and respond to a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This consensus statement summarizes our current understanding of SCA in young athletes, defines the necessary elements for emergency preparedness, and establishes uniform treatment protocols for the management of SCA.
Background: Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes. The increasing presence of and timely access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at sporting events provides a means of early defibrillation and the potential for effective secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death. An Inter-Association Task Force was sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers' Association to develop consensus recommendations on emergency preparedness and management of SCA in athletes.
Recommendations: Comprehensive emergency planning is needed for high school and college athletic programs to ensure an efficient and structured response to SCA. Essential elements of an emergency action plan include establishment of an effective communication system, training of anticipated responders in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED use, access to an AED for early defibrillation, acquisition of necessary emergency equipment, coordination and integration of on-site responder and AED programs with the local emergency medical services system, and practice and review of the response plan. Prompt recognition of SCA, early activation of the emergency medical services system, the presence of a trained rescuer to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and access to early defibrillation are critical in the management of SCA. In any collapsed and unresponsive athlete, SCA should be suspected and an AED applied as soon as possible for rhythm analysis and defibrillation if indicated.
PMCID: PMC1896083  PMID: 17597956
sudden cardiac death; athletes; emergency action plan; automated external defibrillators
17.  Pharmacological approach to the treatment of long and short QT syndromes☆ 
Pharmacology & therapeutics  2008;118(1):138-151.
Inherited channelopathies have received increasing attention in recent years. The past decade has witnessed impressive progress in our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of arrhythmogenesis associated with inherited channelopathies. An imbalance in ionic forces induced by these channelopathies affects the duration of ventricular repolarization and amplifies the intrinsic electrical heterogeneity of the myocardium, creating an arrhythmogenic milieu. Today, many of the channelopathies have been linked to mutations in specific genes encoding either components of ion channels or membrane or regulatory proteins. Many of the channelopathies are genetically heterogeneous with a variable degree of expression of the disease. Defining the molecular basis of channelopathies can have a profound impact on patient management, particularly in cases in which genotype-specific pharmacotherapy is available.
The long QT syndrome (LQTS) is one of the first identified and most studied channelopathies where abnormal prolongation of ventricular repolarization predisposes an individual to life threatening ventricular arrhythmia called Torsade de Pointes. On the other hand of the spectrum, molecular defects favoring premature repolarization lead to Short QT syndrome (SQTS), a recently described inherited channelopathy. Both of these channelopathies are associated with a high risk of sudden cardiac death due to malignant ventricular arrhythmia. Whereas pharmacological therapy is first line treatment for LQTS, defibrillators are considered as primary treatment for SQTS. This review provides a comprehensive review of the molecular genetics, clinical features, genotype–phenotype correlations and genotype-specific approach to pharmacotherapy of these two mirror-image channelopathies, SQTS and LQTS.
PMCID: PMC2386155  PMID: 18378319
Sudden cardiac death; Arrhythmias; Electrophysiology; Pharmacology Inherited channelopathy
18.  Brugada Syndrome Unmasked by Pneumonia 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2006;33(4):501-504.
A 69-year-old white woman presented at our emergency room with right-side pleuritic chest pain, fever, and tachycardia. Results of the physical examination, routine laboratory tests, and chest radiography were unexceptional. An electrocardiogram showed ST elevation in leads V1 through V3 with T-wave inversion. Because of the chest pain and the ST elevation, the patient underwent emergency cardiac catheterization, which showed no coronary artery stenosis. A computed tomographic scan of the chest showed pulmonary infiltration in the right middle lobe and the lingula of the left upper lobe; pneumonia was diagnosed, and appropriate antibiotic therapy was started.
The electrocardiographic changes met the criteria for type-1 Brugada pattern. Brugada syndrome is an arrhythmogenic disease caused in part by mutations in the cardiac sodium channel gene SCN5A. When the sodium current is disrupted, the outward transient current at the end of phase 1 of the action potential becomes unopposed. This creates a voltage gradient between the epicardium and endocardium, especially in the right ventricular wall, which leads to J-point elevation in leads V1 through V3. Fever exaggerates this defect in sodium channels. In our patient, the pleuritic chest pain was caused by the pneumonia, and the ST elevation was probably related to Brugada syndrome, unmasked by the febrile episode. Brugada syndrome can be associated with ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation; the only treatment proven to prevent sudden death is placement of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which is recommended in symptomatic patients or in those with ventricular tachycardia induced during electrophysiologic studies.
PMCID: PMC1764959  PMID: 17215981
Action potentials; arrhythmia/physiopathology; Brugada syndrome; death, sudden cardiac/etiology; defibrillators, implantable; electrocardiography; ST elevation; sodium channels; tachycardia, ventricular; ventricular fibrillation
19.  Anti- or Profibrillatory Effects of Na+ Channel Blockade Depend on the Site of Application Relative to Gradients in Repolarization 
Sodium channel blockers are associated with arrhythmic sudden death, although they are considered antiarrhythmic agents. The mechanism of these opposing effects is unknown. We used a model of induction of ventricular fibrillation (VF) based on selective perfusion of the vascular beds of isolated porcine hearts (n = 8). One bed was perfused with sotalol (220 μM), the adjacent bed with pinacidil (80 μM), leading to repolarization heterogeneity (late repolarization in the sotalol-, early in the pinacidil-area). Premature stimulation from the area with the short action potential was performed. Epicardial activation/repolarization mapping was done. In three of the eight hearts VF was inducible prior to infusion of flecainide. In those hearts the Fibrillation Factor (FF), the interval between the earliest repolarization of the premature beat (S2) in the early repolarizing (pinacidil) domain, and the last S2-activation in the late repolarizing (sotalol) domain, was significantly shorter than in the hearts without VF (33 ± 22 vs 93 ± 11 ms, m ± SEM, p < 0.05). In the three hearts with VF flecainide was infused in the pinacidil domain after defibrillation. This led to shortening of the line of block, local delay of S2 activation and repolarization, an increase in FF and failure to induce VF. In the five hearts without VF, flecainide was subsequently infused in the sotalol domain. This led to a local delay of S2 activation, a shortening of FF (by 47 ± 3 ms) and successful induction of VF in three hearts. In the two remaining hearts FF did not decrease enough (maximally 13 ms) to allow re-entry. Sodium channel blockade applied to myocardium with a short refractory period is antifibrillatory whereas sodium channel blockade of myocardium with a long refractory period is profibrillatory. Our study provides a mechanistic basis for pro- and antiarrhythmic effects of sodium channel blockers in the absence of structural heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3059930  PMID: 21423353
sodium channel blockers; ventricular fibrillation; antiarrhythmic effects; proarrhythmic effects; repolarization heterogeneity; re-entry
20.  Sudden cardiac death in children and adolescents (excluding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) 
Annals of Pediatric Cardiology  2010;3(2):107-112.
Sudden death in the young is rare. About 25% of cases occur during sports. Most young people with sudden cardiac death (SCD) have underlying heart disease, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and coronary artery anomalies being commonest in most series. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia and long QT syndrome are the most common primary arrhythmic causes of SCD. It is estimated that early cardiopulmonary resuscitation and widespread availability of automatic external defibrillators could prevent about a quarter of pediatric sudden deaths.
PMCID: PMC3017912  PMID: 21234187
Children; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; long QT syndrome; sudden cardiac death
21.  A case report of ectopia cordis and omphalocele 
Indian Journal of Human Genetics  2013;19(4):491-493.
A rare congenital defect in fusion of the anterior chest wall resulting in an extrathoracic location of the heart. Cantrell's pentalogy is a congenital anomaly resulting from embryologic development defect and consists of the following: A deficiency of the anterior diaphragm, a midline supraumbilical abdominal wall defect, a defect in the diaphragmatic pericardium, congenital intracardiac abnormalities, and a defect of the lower sternum. Here we report a rare case of ectopic cordis with omphalocele.
PMCID: PMC3897151  PMID: 24497721
Ectopia cordis; omphalocele; scoliosis
22.  Thoraco-abdominal Ectopia Cordis in Southwest Cameroon 
Ectopia cordis is a rare congenital defect where the heart is completely displaced outside the chest wall. Cantrell's pentalogy is an embryologic anomaly with five classic midline deficiencies often associated with ectopia cordis. Here we present a case of thoraco-abdominal ectopia cordis, brief literature review, and possible implications for changes in antenatal care.
PMCID: PMC4232195  PMID: 25404984
Ectopia Cordis; congenital defect; Cantrell's pentalogy
23.  Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome: a national survey of sudden unexplained cardiac death 
Heart  2007;93(5):601-605.
To describe the characteristics of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) and compare its incidence with official national mortality statistics for unascertained deaths.
Design and setting
Sudden unexplained deaths were prospectively surveyed through 117 coroners' jurisdictions in England. Consecutive cases meeting the following criteria were included: white Caucasian, aged 4–64 years, no history of cardiac disease, last seen alive within 12 h of death, normal coroner's autopsy, cardiac pathologist's confirmation of a normal heart and negative toxicology.
Main outcome measures
The estimated mortality from SADS was calculated and the official mortality statistics for unascertained causes of deaths in 4–64‐year‐olds was identified for the same time period.
115 coroner's cases were reported and 56 (49%) SADS victims were identified: mean age 32 years, range 7–64 years and 35 (63%) male. 7 of 39 cases (18%) had a family history of other premature sudden deaths (<45). The estimated mortality from SADS was 0.16/100 000 per annum (95% CI 0.12 to 0.21), compared with an official mortality of 0.10/100 000 per annum for International Classification of Diseases 798.1 (sudden death, cause unknown—instantaneous death) or 1.34/100 000 per annum for unascertained causes of death.
Deaths from SADS occur predominantly in young males. When compared with official mortality, the incidence of SADS may be up to eight times higher than estimated: more than 500 potential SADS cases per annum in England. Families with SADS carry genetic cardiac disease, placing them at risk of further sudden deaths. SADS should therefore be a certifiable cause of death prompting specialised cardiological evaluation of families.
PMCID: PMC1955564  PMID: 17237131
24.  Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators. Prophylactic Use 
Executive Summary
The use of implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) to prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD) in patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest or documented dangerous ventricular arrhythmias (secondary prevention of SCD) is an insured service. In 2003 (before the establishment of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee), the Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a health technology policy assessment on the prophylactic use (primary prevention of SCD) of ICDs for patients at high risk of SCD. The Medical Advisory Secretariat concluded that ICDs are effective for the primary prevention of SCD. Moreover, it found that a more clearly defined target population at risk for SCD that would be likely to benefit from ICDs is needed, given that the number needed to treat (NNT) from recent studies is 13 to 18, and given that the per-unit cost of ICDs is $32,000, which means that the projected cost to Ontario is $770 million (Cdn).
Accordingly, as part of an annual review and publication of more recent articles, the Medical Advisory Secretariat updated its health technology policy assessment of ICDs.
Clinical Need
Sudden cardiac death is caused by the sudden onset of fatal arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms: ventricular tachycardia (VT), a rhythm abnormality in which the ventricles cause the heart to beat too fast, and ventricular fibrillation (VF), an abnormal, rapid and erratic heart rhythm. About 80% of fatal arrhythmias are associated with ischemic heart disease, which is caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart.
Management of VT and VF with antiarrhythmic drugs is not very effective; for this reason, nonpharmacological treatments have been explored. One such treatment is the ICD.
The Technology
An ICD is a battery-powered device that, once implanted, monitors heart rhythm and can deliver an electric shock to restore normal rhythm when potentially fatal arrhythmias are detected. The use of ICDs to prevent SCD in patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest or documented dangerous ventricular arrhythmias (secondary prevention) is an insured service in Ontario.
Primary prevention of SCD involves identification of and preventive therapy for patients who are at high risk for SCD. Most of the studies in the literature that have examined the prevention of fatal ventricular arrhythmias have focused on patients with ischemic heart disease, in particular, those with heart failure (HF), which has been shown to increase the risk of SCD. The risk of HF is determined by left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF); most studies have focused on patients with an LVEF under 0.35 or 0.30. While most studies have found ICDs to reduce significantly the risk for SCD in patients with an LVEF less than 0.35, a more recent study (Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial [SCD-HeFT]) reported that patients with HF with nonischemic heart disease could also benefit from this technology. Based on the generalization of the SCD-HeFT study, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in the United States recently announced that it would allocate $10 billion (US) annually toward the primary prevention of SCD for patients with ischemic and nonischemic heart disease and an LVEF under 0.35.
Review Strategy
The aim of this literature review was to assess the effectiveness, safety, and cost effectiveness of ICDs for the primary prevention of SCD.
The standard search strategy used by the Medical Advisory Secretariat was used. This included a search of all international health technology assessments as well as a search of the medical literature from January 2003–May 2005.
A modification of the GRADE approach (1) was used to make judgments about the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations systematically and explicitly. GRADE provides a framework for structured reflection and can help to ensure that appropriate judgments are made. GRADE takes into account a study’s design, quality, consistency, and directness in judging the quality of evidence for each outcome. The balance between benefits and harms, quality of evidence, applicability, and the certainty of the baseline risks are considered in judgments about the strength of recommendations.
Summary of Findings
Overall, ICDs are effective for the primary prevention of SCD. Three studies – the Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial I (MADIT I), the Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial II (MADIT II), and SCD-HeFT – showed there was a statistically significant decrease in total mortality for patients who prophylactically received an ICD compared with those who received conventional therapy (Table 1).
Results of Key Studies on the Use of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators for the Primary Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death – All-Cause Mortality
MADIT I: Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial I; MADIT II: Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial II; SCD-HeFT: Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial.
EP indicates electrophysiology; ICD, implantable cardioverter defibrillator; NNT, number needed to treat; NSVT, nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. The NNT will appear higher if follow-up is short. For ICDs, the absolute benefit increases over time for at least a 5-year period; the NNT declines, often substantially, in studies with a longer follow-up. When the NNT are equalized for a similar period as the SCD-HeFT duration (5 years), the NNT for MADIT-I is 2.2; for MADIT-II, it is 6.3.
GRADE Quality of the Evidence
Using the GRADE Working Group criteria, the quality of these 3 trials was examined (Table 2).
Quality refers to the criteria such as the adequacy of allocation concealment, blinding and follow-up.
Consistency refers to the similarity of estimates of effect across studies. If there is important unexplained inconsistency in the results, our confidence in the estimate of effect for that outcome decreases. Differences in the direction of effect, the size of the differences in effect, and the significance of the differences guide the decision about whether important inconsistency exists.
Directness refers to the extent to which the people interventions and outcome measures are similar to those of interest. For example, there may be uncertainty about the directness of the evidence if the people of interest are older, sicker or have more comorbidity than those in the studies.
As stated by the GRADE Working Group, the following definitions were used to grade the quality of the evidence:
High: Further research is very unlikely to change our confidence n the estimate of effect.
Moderate: Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect and may change the estimate.
Low: Further research is very likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect and is likely to change the estimate.
Very low: Any estimate of effect is very uncertain.
Quality of Evidence – MADIT I, MADIT II, and SCD-HeFT*
MADIT I: Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial I; MADIT II: Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial II; SCD-HeFT: Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial.
The 3 trials had 3 different sets of eligibility criteria for implantation of an ICD for primary prevention of SCD. Conclusions
Overall, there is evidence that ICDs are effective for the primary prevention of SCD. Three trials have found a statistically significant decrease in total mortality for patients who prophylactically received an ICD compared with those who received conventional therapy in their respective study populations.
As per the GRADE Working Group, recommendations consider 4 main factors:
The tradeoffs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
The quality of the evidence (Table 2);
Translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects, such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
Uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly with the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 is the overall trade-off between benefits and harms and incorporates any risk or uncertainty.
For MADIT I, the overall GRADE and strength of the recommendation is “moderate” – the quality of the evidence is “moderate” (uncertainty due to methodological limitations in the study design), and risk/uncertainty in cost and budget impact was mitigated by the use of filters to help target the prevalent population at risk (Table 3).
For MADIT II, the overall GRADE and strength of the recommendation is “very weak” – the quality of the evidence is “weak” (uncertainty due to methodological limitations in the study design), but there is risk or uncertainty regarding the high prevalence, cost, and budget impact. It is not clear why screening for high-risk patients was dropped, given that in MADIT II the absolute reduction in mortality was small (5.6%) compared to MADIT I, which used electrophysiological screening (23%) (Table 3).
For SCD-HeFT, the overall GRADE and strength of the recommendation is “weak” – the study quality is “moderate,” but there is also risk/uncertainty due to a high NNT at 5 years (13 compared to the MADIT II NNT of 6 and MADIT I NNT of 2 at 5 years), high prevalent population (N = 23,700), and a high budget impact ($770 million). A filter (as demonstrated in MADIT 1) is required to help target the prevalent population at risk and mitigate the risk or uncertainty relating to the high NNT, prevalence, and budget impact (Table 3).
The results of the most recent ICD trial (SCD-HeFT) are not generalizable to the prevalent population in Ontario (Table 3). Given that the current funding rate of an ICD is $32,500 (Cdn), the estimated budget impact for Ontario would be as high as $770 million (Cdn). The uncertainty around the cost estimate of treating the prevalent population with LVEF < 0.30 in Ontario, the lack of human resources to implement such a strategy and the high number of patients required to prevent one SCD (NNT = 13) calls for an alternative strategy that allows the appropriate uptake and diffusion of ICDs for primary prevention for patients at maximum risk for SCD within the SCD-HeFT population.
The uptake and diffusion of ICDs for primary prevention of SCD should therefore be based on risk stratification through the use of appropriate screen(s) that would identify patients at highest risk who could derive the most benefit from this technology.
Overall GRADE and Strength of Recommendation for the Use of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators for the Primary Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death
MADIT I: Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial I; MADIT II: Multicentre Automatic Defibrillator Implantation Trial II; SCD-HeFT: Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial.
NNT indicates number needed to treat. The NNT will appear higher if follow-up is short. For ICDs, the absolute benefit increases over time for at least a 5-year period; the NNT declines, often substantially, in studies with a longer follow-up. When the NNT are equalized for a similar period as the SCD-HeFT duration (5 years), the NNT for MADIT-I is 2.2; for MADIT-II, it is 6.3.
NSVT indicates nonsustained ventricular tachycardia; VT, ventricular tachycardia.
PMCID: PMC3382404  PMID: 23074465
25.  Cardiac anomalies in Cantrell’s pentalogy: From ventricular diverticulum to complete thoracic ectopia cordis 
Cardiologie tunisienne  2013;9(1):94-97.
Cantrell’s pentalogy is a very rare syndrome associating varying degrees of midline wall defects and congenital cardiac anomalies. It is characterized by a combination of five anomalies that are: a midline supra umbilical abdominal wall defect, a sternal defect, an anterior diaphragmatic defect, a diaphragmatic pericardial defect and a congenital intra cardiac defect. Ectopia cordis, defined as a developmental defect in which the heart is abnormally located partially or totally outside the thorax, is in some cases a part of this syndrome. We report two cases of Cantrell’s pentalogy in which cardiac ectopia was complete in one case and limited to left ventricular diverticulum in the other case. Both cases had a common intracardiac defect which is a double outlet right ventricle. The first case underwent surgical repair of the intracardiac lesions with resection of the diverticulum associated to repair of the midline defects with good outcome. The second case that presented with complete extra thoracic ectopia cordis died because of sepsis.
We review through this article the main characteristics of Cantrell’s pentalogy, we highlight the diversity of anatomic lesions and study the prognosis of this syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4274934  PMID: 25541632
Pentalogy of Cantrell; Ectopia Cordis

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