What caused Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest? Experts say several factors could be at play

Cardiac arrest is often called "sudden death," because most people don't survive without intervention.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is fortunate that well-trained medics responded quickly following his collapse with 10 minutes of CPR and an AED to shock his heart. After being stabilized on the field, he likely received therapeutic hypothermia at the hospital, where his body temperature was cooled to prevent further brain damage. Ventilation would help prevent further lung damage, then the detective work starts.

"Most of the athletic cardiac arrests occur because of an undiagnosed, underlying structural heart disease, whether that's hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, abnormal coronary arteries, inherited cardiomyopathy, or some structural or electrical problem," cardiologist Dr. Judith Mackall Medical, Director of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center's Cardiac Device Clinic, said.

There's speculation that the hit to Hamlin's chest is the cause — a rare condition called commotio cordis.

"Commotio cordis is a very rare event," Mackall told 3News. "It usually occurs in younger athletes or younger people, usually in the 8 to 18 age range."

Monica Robins reports: https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/health/health-hub/what-caused-damar-hamlin-cardiac/95-9826a83b-214e-4ef5-b2d6-343d19e06f3c --

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