Doctor says a hit to the chest could kill

An Oahu pediatric cardiologist has made a discovery that could one day lead to changes in the protective gear some athletes wear.

Dr. Andras Bratincsak found that if someone is hit hard in the chest, it could cause arrythmia in the upper chamber of the heart. That could lead to a stroke — or death, up to four days later.

His message to people who play contact sports?

“You should wear some protective gear that protects your heart, like a vest, so whatever the football players are wearing, maybe the baseball or softball players should be wearing. So protect your child at the sporting event. The other one, if a blunt chest trauma happens, just think about checking the heart,” said Dr. Andras Bratincsak, who works for the John A. Burns School of Medicine and Kapiolani Medical Center.

He made the discovery while checking on a teenage football player who had chest pains, and was light headed after being hit in the chest during practice.

This case report will be published in the January issue of the journal of pediatrics — and was posted on the journal’s website earlier this week.

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