Commotio cordis Commotio cordis is a Latin term which translates to "agitation of the heart." Commotio cordis is the sudden disruption of heart function which results from a direct blow to the chest during a critical cycle of a heart beat. Commotio cordis is a rare medical phenomenon discovered during the 1930s. Commotio cordis has a fatality rate of 65 percent and generally affects young boys and men with an undeveloped thorax. Commotio cordis generally occurs during sports like baseball, football, ice hockey, rugby, cricket, fencing, lacrosse, boxing, karate, and other martial arts. Commotio cordis is caused by impact of a projectile, like a ball, elbow, or other body part. Commotio cordis can also result from torture, abuse, automobile accidents, and other situations where the thorax is struck.
Commotio cordis is a form of ventricular fibrillation and is not the result of heart disease, mechanical damage, or organ failure.