Imperial College Business School

Footballer cardiac arrest sparks renewed calls for defibrillators at grounds

Campaigners have renewed calls for more defibrillators to be made available following the cardiac arrest of a footballer during Euro 2020.

Football fans watched in horror when Danish Striker Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch last week, during a European Championship game against Finland last week.

Eriksen had suffered a cardiac arrest - where the heart suddenly stops pumping blood, causing someone to lose consciousness and stop breathing.

"This shocking event was a stark reminder that a cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere and anytime, without warning and even be the first sign of a heart problem.” Dr Sonya Babu-NarayanImperial's National Heart and Lung Institute, and Associate Medical Director, British Heart Foundation

The 29-year-old's life was saved by the rapid medical treatment he received. A combination of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a defibrillator (a device that delivers an electric shock to the heart), meant he was conscious by the time he was carried off the pitch.

Team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed these actions were lifesaving: “he was gone”, Boesen told press after the incident, but "we got him back after one defib...that’s quite fast”.

Eriksen is reported to be in a stable condition, and has since had a medical device implanted to stabilise his heart rhythm.

With 12 people under the age of 35 dying each week in the UK due to sudden cardiac arrest, researchers at Imperial's National Heart and Lung Institute are at the forefront of developing new tests and treatments for undiagnosed heart conditions.

Here they explain why sudden cardiac arrests happen, how Imperial scientists are helping save more lives from heart conditions - and why more public places urgently need defibrillators.

How to re-start a heart

Defibrillators are devices which give an electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, via pads or paddles applied to the chest. This shock, called defibrillation or ‘defib’, can help to restore the heart’s rhythm.

“Defibrillators can be life-saving as they can restore the heart’s normal rhythm,” explains Dr Zachary Whinnett, Reader in Cardiac Electrophysiology within Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute. "The sooner the treatment is delivered the better the chance the shock will be successful.”

Defibrillator

Dr Whinnett explains around about 2 in 100,000 athletes under the age of 40 each year suffer a cardiac arrest.

People who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death may be offered an implantable defibrillator which can rapidly treat ventricular arrhythmias - such as as Eriksen, as well as current Netherlands defender Daley Blind, who has had a cardiac implant since 2019.

“Defibrillators can be life-saving as they can restore the heart’s normal rhythm,” explains Dr Whinnett. "The sooner the treatment is delivered the better the chance the shock will be successful.”

"With a cardiac arrest, time is everything. It is estimated that the chances of survival are 50% greater if defibrillation is delivered within the first 2 minutes." Dr Fu Siong NgImperial's National Heart and Lung Institute

Dr Dr Fu Siong Ng, Consultant Cardiologist and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Imperial's National Heart and Lung Institute, echoes why timing is so crucial: "With a cardiac arrest, time is everything. It is estimated that the chances of survival are 50% greater if defibrillation is delivered within the first 2 minutes following the onset of cardiac arrest.

"During cardiac arrest, the heart muscle and brain are not receiving any blood or oxygen, and these organs can rapidly deteriorate over minutes under such conditions. The more delayed the defibrillation, the poorer the chances of survival."

The recent incident at Euro 2020 echoes that of former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who was revived by medics using defibrillators after collapsing on the pitch with cardiac arrest during a Premier League game in 2012.

Muamba has since campaigned for defibrillators to be made available in public spaces across the UK, including shops and gyms.

Fabrice Muamba
Fabrice Muamba, who was revived after collapsing on the pitch with cardiac arrest during a Premier League game in 2012, has campaigned for more defibrillators to be available in public spaces.

“Sadly the first presentation of these events is often with sudden cardiac death, which is why it is so important that people are trained in performing CPR and that there is access to defibrillators which are used to restart the heart,” explains Dr Whinnett.

“Knowing how to do CPR is really important and can be lifesaving and can prevent injury to the brain and other major organs. Early access to defibrillators is also vital as the defibrillator allows the heart to be restarted.”

Dr Siong Ng echoes this: "We need more automated external defibrillators (AEDs) installed at public places so that prompt defibrillation can be delivered to anyone who has a cardiac arrest in a public space."

12 young people die every week

Around 12 young people (aged under 35) die every week in the UK from an undiagnosed heart condition, explains Dr Siong Ng: "A significant proportion of these are due to inherited cardiac conditions such as cardiomyopathies (abnormalities of heart muscle function) or channelopathies (abnormalities of electrical function of the heart), which are undiagnosed at the time of cardiac arrest.

Other causes include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) and a heart attack due to a blocked artery (myocardial infarction)."

Dr Siong Ng, who inserts implantable defibrillators into heart patients, adds that testing close relatives of an individual can help identify others at risk: "Screening of close relatives, using heart ultrasound (echocardiogram) and electrical heart tracing (electrocardiogram) can help to identify some, but not all, individuals at potential risk.

"There is still a need for further research to try to improve our understanding of the causes of sudden cardiac death and to allow us to better predict who is at risk." Dr Zachary WhinnettImperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute

"However, even if someone has been diagnosed with an inherited cardiac conditions, it is very difficult to predict an individual’s risk of developing cardiac arrest in the future. This is a real challenge and is the subject of research by many groups around the world, including our own group here at Imperial."

Dr Whinnett adds that Imperial is investigating the causes behind sudden cardiac death: “There is still a need for further research to try to improve our understanding of the causes of sudden cardiac death and to allow us to better predict who is at risk.”

“We are doing research at Imperial to develop safer more effective implantable cardioverter defibrillators and developing tools to better identify people at risk of developing sudden cardiac death, which we hope will ultimately save more lives.”

'Every second counts'

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Reader in Adult Congenital Heart disease, within Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute and Associate Medical Director at the BHF said: "This shocking event was a stark reminder that a cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere and anytime, without warning and even be the first sign of a heart problem.”

“If someone suffers a cardiac arrest, it’s vital they receive immediate CPR and defibrillation to give them the best chance of survival. The speed of the response for Christian Eriksen was incredibly impressive and it saved his life.”

"It’s crucial that we continue to find opportunities to offer everyone training in CPR, from including it in secondary school education to teaching it in the workplace." Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan

“Every second counts when someone suffers a cardiac arrest -the more of us that know how to perform CPR, the more lives that can be saved.

"At the British Heart Foundation we have seen a more than 2,000 per cent increase in people visiting our website to learn CPR and find out how to use a defibrillator. If you learn CPR you too could be a potential lifesaver one day."

"It’s crucial that we continue to find opportunities to offer everyone training in CPR, from including it in secondary school education to teaching it in the workplace, and that we make public access defibrillators readily available in the places they are needed most.

"We need research to help us better select who might need a defibrillator implanted to save their life. My research at Imperial is to find tools to answer this question for people living with congenital heart disease.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Battle of Ideas Festival #OpenForDebate with #SkillsWorldLive

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 19 hours 32 minutes ago

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 19 hours 33 minutes ago

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page