A 20-year-old male collegiate basketball player was evaluated for sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and blurry vision, following an elbow to the anterior chest by another player. His symptoms improved over 10 minutes of observation, but rhythm strip performed onsite showed atrial fibrillation, and the athlete was transmitted to the emergency department for further evaluation. Electrocardiogram in the ER confirmed atrial fibrillation with a rate of 85 bpm. Electrocardioversion was being arranged when he spontaneously converted to normal sinus rhythm, 2.5 hours from the traumatic event.
Our case illustrates an unusual example of atrial fibrillation induced by commotio cordis (AFCC). Although less acutely life threatening and much less frequently described than ventricular fibrillation induced by commotio cordis, AFCC should be considered in the differential after blunt chest wall trauma. Currently, there are little data regarding management of patients with AFCC.