Former Tottenham Hotspur doctor, Professor Sanjay Sharma has told the Mail on Sunday that it is a miracle the footballer survived suspected cardiac arrest against Finland.
Sharma has first-hand experience of Eriksen, having been the midfielder’s cardiologist between 2013 and 2020, admitting that the Dane had no known heart issues but did add that no test was ‘foolproof’.
Eriksen appeared to start fitting when he collapsed during the closing minutes of the first half in Denmark’s Euro 2020 opening fixture against Finland.
Sharma believes that Eriksen probably suffered a cardiac arrest with the Dane receiving CPR on the field.
‘If they did aggressive CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] on him and if they did have to use a defibrillator, then I would call this a primary cardiac arrest as a result of the heart going into a bad rhythm,’ Prof Sharma said.
‘What I saw was that he ran towards the ball, completely lost his legs – clearly at that point something had gone terribly wrong – becomes floppy, hits the ground and starts fitting.’
The medics worked on Eriksen for nearly 20 minutes before he was resuscitated and brought to the hospital.
The former Spurs doctor revealed that every minute in which a person remains unresponsive, their chance of survival starts to decrease.
Sharma claimed that the fitting was likely to be the result of the brain being starved of oxygen and added: ‘The moment you hit the ground to the moment they get your heart started again is known as downtime. The longer your downtime, the worse your outlook.
‘For every minute that they don’t get you back, if you haven’t got good CPR, then the chance of you surviving goes down by about seven per cent.
‘Normally with somebody who’s had a downtime of five or six minutes, if they get them back, they’re in such a bad way that they have to be ventilated, with a tube going down their throat helping them to breathe.
‘But remember, Eriksen is a very young fit man. He is not like the elderly people who have a cardiac arrest outside Sainsbury’s. This is a guy with fantastic circulation.’
Sharma continued: ‘From the day we signed him it was my job to screen him, and we tested him every year,’ said Prof Sharma. ‘So certainly his tests up to 2019 were completely normal with no obvious underlying cardiac fault. Every single year he was tested. I can vouch for that because I did the tests.’
He did not rule out the prospect of the player having picked up a a silent heart problem since joining Inter Milan with the Italian club expected to have carried out similar checks to those in North London.
He continued: ‘Obviously we’ve had Covid. Some footballers may have had sub-clinical Covid infection, which may have resulted in scarring of the heart,’
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