Professional athlete plays with an ICD in his chest.

I'm amazed that Christian Eriksen a professional footballer from Denmark is back playing soccer professionally after having been fit with  an ICD to prevent another bout of ventricular fibrillation that almost killed him 9 months ago in the middle of a match. I thought that rough sports weren't allowed if you have a cardiac device implanted. If this is so, many members of this club that worry about how much physical activitiy they can handle, will be very happy with this news. I'm still in awe though.


8 Comments

ICD and contact sports

by Old male - 2022-03-27 00:03:35

Some of the Instructions post ICD implant include not to use a jack hammer which would cause excessive vibration and avoid strong magnetic fields with sources mentioned to include leaning over a running automobile engine, operation of some gasoline powered lawn equipment.  Shouldn't cause a problem if a minimum distance is kept.  I wouldn't carry a cell phone in pocket on same side.

Avoiding impact directly on or near our devices should come under the heading of "common sense".  High chance of collision some sports.

Thought of a comment on Facebook I saw recently that car owners manuals used to give us instructions for some do it yourself repairs and now there are warnings to not drink the battery acid.  No, I didn't check to verify this.  But these days I wouldn't be surprised since not long ago kids were eating Tide Pods.

Professional athlete

by AgentX86 - 2022-03-27 00:24:45

It's not that you're not allowed to play contact sports with an implantable device.  It may not be wise and a direct blow to the device might hurt like hell but burying the device under the pectoral muscle will help.  He certainly won't hurt the device itself and the chances of damaging the leads isn't zero but it's small.  Since he has only has and ICD for Vfib even a complete failure wouldn't likely be a problem. If he were dependent, it might be a different story. I certainly wouldn't play contact sports but I am dependent.

Some do have pysical limitations because of their PM but since the ICD is only there in case of another incident of Vfib, the assumption is that his heart is otherwise healthy. His abilities won't be dimished at all.

In theory, Association Football is a non-contact sport

by crustyg - 2022-03-27 07:24:00

Although you might not think so to watch it.

There has certainly been a lot of concern historically about really vigorous exercise in those prone to VF - nothing to do with hitting the implanted device, but making the underlying condition more likely to trigger another episode of VF.  Even with an implanted device, this is still tiger country.

Life is all about choices, and if he chooses to play - and a club is willing to pay him to play, then I salute him, and wish him luck.

Did they ever confirm any underlying cause of his VF/Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

by Gemita - 2022-03-27 09:28:55

Yes TAC it is amazing that Christian Eriksen is playing football again and scoring goals. I too would be concerned about the reason for his collapse and whether it might happen again, rather than worrying about damaging the ICD during football manoeuvres.

Did they ever establish any underlying cause leading to Christian’s collapse/VF:  ?congenital/cardiomyopathy/virus/electrical fault like Brugada/QT syndrome, or did he suffer from a chest trauma prior to collapse?  

Should we necessarily avoid risk ?

by IAN MC - 2022-03-27 14:09:36

A major theme of the PM club has always been risk-avoidance, taking the safest course of action etc but , in sport, there is  often a built-in risk element. Otherwise we wouldn't have activities like sky-diving,  motor-racing, ski-jumping, boxing  etc..

I think Eriksen is making his own choices and presumably he would rather risk having another  cardiac arrest , or risk damaging his ICD , than have to give up football.

It is interesting that his previous Italian club made the choice for him.  The Italian Football Association's rules do not allow participation in matches if the player has an increased risk of cardiac arrest , particularly if an ICD is implanted ! This doesn't  apply to other countries and I know of at least one other UK professional footballer who has an ICD.

Ian

Pacemakers/ICD and sport

by Selwyn - 2022-03-27 15:05:33

This subject is next to my heart.

There is no doubt that vigorous  exercise is associated with sudden death. I have certainly known a 35 year old plumber die on the soccer pitch ( His mates had a collection for his widow and children).

Exercise is associated with remodelling of the heart. My cardiomyopathy was for many years  misdiagnosed as exercise induced change. When I showed my ECG to a Premier Division Football Club team doctor, he said, " Don't worry. Most of the team have those changes".

Going through the  soccer 'school of excellence' as youngsters results in a widening of the coronary arteries. Heart muscle thickens. 

Exercise itself causes heart arrhythmias.   Ideally,  we should always exercise where there are defibrillators to hand. I have been concerned for many years that marathons [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606059/]  and half marathons kill more people than, say, boxing ( Boxing is frowned upon by the British Medical  Association)

Pacemakers and sport can be mixed [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22854824/}. It is always possible to protect the device with different implantation sites or external devices.  

I am sure that if Christian Erikson had structural heart disease he would not be back to playing soccer.  He must feel a lot safer having his own defibrillator.  Personally, I rely on my swimming pool to have a defibrillator ( watch out for the wet floor!) and my table-tennis club also has one.  If that is not enough I carry one in my car.   You can't be too safe!

Let's face it, life is about risk.  Nothing ventured nothing gained. What risks an individual is willing to take is personal.  I once resuscitated a drowned diver. The lady concerned had no idea why she become unconscious underwater. Within 3 months she was back to diving ( letter of thanks to me). Crazy!

 

Selwyn

by Gotrhythm - 2022-03-27 15:47:08

Hear, hear!

Sports and pacemakers

by Good Dog - 2022-03-27 16:10:39

I began playing very competitive basketball about 7 months after I had my initial pacemaker implanted over 35 years ago. I played before I went into complete heart block and I was determined to continue playing afterward. I wasn't as concerned about the contact as I was about how my heart would handle it. I would occasionally stop and take my pulse. I found after playing for a week or so that when I was running, my pulse would always be up over 140 ppm. Sometimes it was so rapid I had trouble counting the beats. So, over time, I discovered that my heart was responding on its own and I was feeling fine, winded at times, but fine. So after that I never looked back. Life is full of risks and I was determined that I would not stop doing what I enjoyed unless my body dictated otherwise. I never had a problem over all the years of being paced until I hit 70ish. Then I discovered that PM induced cardiomyopathy is a real thing. I do not regret for one second the moderate risks that I took over the years or my lifestyle. I always say that I lived like I did not have a PM. I enjoyed it while I could! I have always believed that my body will tell me when to slow-down. Unfortunately, it is doing that now!

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