(CMR) Following news that Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during an American Football game, the Cayman Heart Fund is encouraging everyone to get trained in CPR and businesses to have AEDs.
Monday's game was suspended with less than six minutes left in the first quarter when Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle. His heartbeat was restored on the field before he was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Hamlin has reportedly shown improvement, including communicating through writing and moving his hands and feet but is still considered critically ill.
While there are several potential causes for Hamlin's cardiac arrest, cardiologists believe that a rare phenomenon called “commotio cordis” was to blame.
In such cases, “there is nothing wrong with the heart,” said Dr. Hari Tandri, the director of the cardiac arrhythmia program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, told NBC News.
Cayman Heart Fund explained that commotio cordis interrupts the cardiac cycle leading to ventricular fibrillation after a chest blow. While a very uncommon occurrence, it speaks to the need for AEDs on all playing fields.
For every one minute that you don't have CPR performed, your chances of survival go down by about 10%,” Dr. Comilla Sasson, an emergency medicine physician in Denver, said. In Hamlin's case, medical personnel on the sidelines performed CPR until he was stable enough to be taken by ambulance for further treatment.
“This incident is a reminder of how important it is to be trained in CPR and to have an AED nearby,” Cayman Heart Fund said.
In the event of a cardiac emergency, the Heart Fund advised that people dial 9-1-1 and administer hands-only CPR along with an AED, if available.