THE shocking image of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsing on the pitch during the opening Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland on Saturday is a stark reminder that anyone can suffer a cardiac arrest, even a professional athlete.
The scenes unfolding on live television were a textbook case of how a medical emergency should be handled. The referee and players around him quickly noticed the emergency. The pitch side medical team responded immediately after being called. Noticing an emergency situation and calling for help is the first rule in first aid treatment.
Multiple news reports have stated that Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest. What does this mean? A cardiac arrest is a condition in which there is a sudden loss of heart function and thus no blood being pumped throughout the body. There are various causes for sudden cardiac arrest and Eriksen will certainly have to undergo further medical investigation.
Importantly, he was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a single defibrillation via an automatic external defibrillator (AED). This means that his chest wall was compressed by someone to keep his blood circulating and an electrical shock was administered to restart his heart.
We must promote awareness of and training in first aid and CPR in Malaysia. During this Covid-19 pandemic, the public can still provide CPR by doing hands only CPR together with an AED before the arrival of an ambulance. This technique requires the rescuer to continuously compress the middle of the chest wall with two hands interlocked for two-minute intervals. Remember that both the rescuer and the patient must cover their faces with a mask. No breaths are given at any time during hands only CPR.
DR AZUZAY ZAMANI