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Commotio cordis: early observations
  1. P KOHL
  1. University of Oxford
  2. University Laboratory of Physiology
  3. Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT, UK
  4. email:

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Editor,—Commotio cordis (arrhythmia or sudden death caused by a blunt, non-penetrating, precordial impact without structural damage) is not as new a phenomenon as frequently assumed.1 Case reports can be traced back in the European medical literature for at least 130 years.

In 1879 Meola described how one of his patients died suddenly after the impact of a stone throw to the Manubrium sterni.2 Nélaton’s observation in 1876 of sudden death in a manual labourer after …

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