Friday, 23 March 2012

Fabrice Muamba incident highlights risks of hidden heart problems even for the young and fit


When we think about heart conditions we tend to think it only happens to older, unfit or overweight people. The recent drama surrounding the collapse of Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba with a heart attack has highlighted that even the youngest and fittest person could have a hidden heart problem that leads to a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). 
Muamba is only 23 and was recognised as one of the fittest players in the Bolton Wanders squad. For many this incident will bring back tragic memories of Marc-Vivien Foe who died after collapsing on the pitch and suffering an SCA during a match in 2003. 
Every week in the UK, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people, under the age of 35, die from undiagnosed cardiac conditions. The defect is usually due to an inherited condition rather than a lack of fitness.
There have been a number of stories in the press about young people suffering from SCA due to heart conditions, some with a happy ending but many with tragic consequences.
Early defibrillation is vital
An important factor in restarting Fabrice Muamba’s heart was the fact that he received early CPR and defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Both of these are vital parts of the chain of survival for suffers of SCA. AEDs are vital pieces of equipment that are designed to be simple to use so anyone can deliver an electrical shock to help restore a normal heart rhythm.
The Lifeline AED offered by Martek Medical has been shown in an independent usability study to be the easiest to use AED on the market.