Victim of a heart attack on Saturday during the match between Denmark and Finland (0-1), the Danish Christian Eriksen will have to live with a defibrillator that will be implanted in him.
This very high-tech device is intended to detect and correct heart rhythm disturbances and thus prevent the risk of sudden death from which the Inter Milan player escaped, almost by miracle last Saturday.
Despite this defibrillator, Eriksen should not be able to resume the normal course of his career.
What will be implanted in the body of the Dane in the coming hours is an "automatic implantable defibrillator" otherwise called "ICD".
Performing the functions of a more classic pacemaker, it is made up of several probes and a box.
Depending on the model, the probe can be placed either directly into the heart (passing through a vein) or under the skin, in contact with the chest wall.
Through a probe, the device detects heart rhythm disturbances and corrects them if necessary.
If the heart starts beating too slowly, the ICD can work by waking it up with small electrical impulses.
This is the function of a pacemaker.
The difference with DAI is that it also works if the heart races in the opposite direction.
“The idea is to prevent sudden death,” explains cardiologist Jérémy Descoux.
Regain control of the heartbeat
It is estimated that worldwide, sudden death affects and kills two in 100,000 athletes between the ages of 12 and 35. To avoid this risk, the IAD has computer algorithms that can determine whether the increased heart rate (tachycardia) is occurring. normal, disturbing or even very dangerous, depending on its nature.
Depending on this analysis, it is able to trigger several responses: "The ultimate therapy is the electric shock that the device delivers by charging its capacitors, to bring the heart rate back to normal", explains Dr. Descoux.
The ICD joins here the defibrillator device installed in public places in an emergency, except that there it is directly implanted in the patient's body in a miniature version.
With this ultimate remedy, the device can also send a series of rapid pulses to regain control of the heartbeat.
"In my opinion, his career is over"
If the device will save the life of Christian Eriksen who is unfortunately not immune to a new heart attack, the DAI risks putting an end to his career.
It is very rare that after the accident suffered by the Dane last Saturday, it is possible to play football again one day.
There is one exception with the Dutchman Daley Blind but it is very rare.
“In my opinion, his career is over.
Here we have a sudden death recovered.
It seems extremely complicated, unless we find a pathology that caused the accident unrelated to sport, "fears Dr. Descoux in an interview with AFP.
See also Euro 2021: the beautiful ovation from Denmark and Belgium to Christian Eriksen
The Dane's entourage clings to the case of Dutchman Daley Blind who also lives with a device and continues to play with Ajax. In the Dutchman, myocarditis, in other words inflammation of the heart muscle, was diagnosed in 2019 after dizziness in the middle of a game. In 2020, he had collapsed, again during a match, after his device failed. He had stepped out of the field conscious and on his own. Not Eriksen, victim of a sudden death at this still unexplained hour: "A recovered sudden death, in general, it is a contraindication to the continuation of the sporting activity in competition", continues Dr. Descoux.
Even if he can play again, Eriksen will probably no longer be able to wear the Inter shirt. In Italy, it seems forbidden to play with an implanted pacemaker: "Our sports legislation on medical issues does not say anything specific about defibrillators, because the possibility of playing with an implanted defibrillator is not even considered, observes the Italian cardiologist Roberto Corsetti cited by the Gazzetta dello sport. In Italy, there is not a single competing athlete, professional or not, who plays with an implanted defibrillator. "