Vol 14, No 1 (2007)
Case Reports
Published online: 2006-12-01

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Lightning-induced ventricular fibrillation

Deborah R. Levy i Toshio Akiyama
Cardiol J 2007;14(1):91-94.


We present a case of a previously healthy 17 year-old white male boy scout who collapsed after a lightning strike, and was found to be in ventricular fibrillation when emergency medical services arrived. The ventricular fibrillation was defibrillated into sinus rhythm after a single direct current (DC) countershock. However, the patient has remained in coma. Commotio cordis, sudden cardiac death from low-energy chest wall impact, is a phenomenon in which an exactly timed and located blow on the chest during the cardiac cycle results in ventricular fibrillation. Commotio cordis and electrical shock can both result in ventricular arrhythmias. We speculate that in this patient, ventricular fibrillation began immediately after the lightning, which probably struck at the peak of the T wave. (Cardiol J 2007; 14: 91–94)

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