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Why Did Fabrice Muamba Collapse?

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Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed from a cardiac arrest during the fa cup quarter final at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. It is reported that his heart stopped for seven minutes before his life was saved by the efforts of first responders and a consultant cardiologist who leapt down from the stands to assist.

This is not the first time a player has suffered a cardiac arrest on the field. Former Manchester City midfielder Marc Vivien Foe died in 2003 when he collapsed while playing for Cameroon against Colombia.

It is unusual for a fit and healthy 23-year-old to collapse from a heart attack but there are some medical reasons it could happen.

What is the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is when circulation of the blood stops due to failure of the heart to contract effectively. This could mean that the heart has stopped entirely or that the heart contracts with such an irregular rhythm that it does not pump blood around the body. A cardiac arrest may be caused by a heart attack where blood flow to the muscle of the heart is impaired.

The type of heart attacks that affect young, otherwise healthy people usually occur when the heart is under strain during athletic activities and are not easily detected during health checks.

Thickening of the heart muscle, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is the most common cause of sudden death in athletes and people under 30. It is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood.

Sometimes people are born with heart arteries (coronary arteries) that are connected abnormally. The arteries can become compressed during exercise and not provide proper blood flow to the heart.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-death/HB00092


10107 Revised November 2012

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