Statement from Bolton and London Chest Hospital where Fabrice Muamba was admitted after he collapsed on the pitch during the Spurs vs Bolton FA quarter-finals match.
“Fabrice received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and on route to The London Chest Hospital, where his heart eventually started working. His condition continues to be closely monitored by the cardiac specialists.”
If Muamba pulls through then it will all because of the timely intervention of the medics administered mouth to mouth and used the defibrillator to get his heart going. For now he remains in the ICU until at least Monday morning.
He looks to have suffered a cardiac arrest probably brought on by cardiac/ventricular arrhythmia due to a previously undetected heart condition. In August last year, Japanese international Naoki Matsuda, collapsed of a cardiac arrest during a training run and died two days later in hospital at age 34. So Muamba is clearly not out of the woods although it appears he is coming around.
There have been a number of deaths in the football world following a similar pattern of cardiac arrests and in many young athletes, a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which thickens the heart muscle has been implicated. It is termed the “silent killer” as it remains asymptomatic and the first visible sign of this disease is sudden cardiac death (SCD).
Physical tests and medical history have proven ineffective in screening out HCM. The most accurate way (up to 80% ) to establish an HCM diagnosis requires a 12 lead ECG and a confirmatory Echocardiogram. In Italy, these investigations are part of the standard battery of tests and have dramatically brought down the rates of SCD.
Marc Vivian Foe, the former West Ham and Camerounian international died of the same condition in a 2003 Confederation Cup match. As did Benfica striker, Miklos Feher in 2004. Both were in their early 20s.
Others include Phil O’ Donnell, the Motherwell midielder and Espanyol captain Dani Jarque, who Andres Iniesta dedicated his winning goal to in the 2010 World Cup final. In 2007, Antonio Puerta, the Sevilla winger collapsed and died after a series of cardiac arrests, brought on by Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVD), a similar heart condition where the cardiac muscle is replaced by adipose tissue. ARVD was also diagnosed in former Walsall defender Matt Gadsby’s death in 2006.
These deaths have hastened the need for defbrillator kits and trained para-medics on the pitch where their timely intervention can make all the difference between life and death.