Cardiac Arrest: What Happened to Buffalo Bills Player Damar Hamlin?

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 3, 2023) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, 24, remains hospitalized in “critical condition” after experiencing cardiac arrest when he collapsed mid-game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Hamlin’s sudden collapse stunned football fans and gives rise to questions about the mysterious heart condition:

  • What causes a cardiac arrest?
  • Can someone recover from a cardiac arrest?
  • Could Hamlin’s collapse have been prevented?
  • Do age or physical condition play a role in sudden cardiac arrest?
  • Hamlin was tackled, stood up and then collapsed. Did the tackle cause the cardiac arrest?
  • Is cardiac arrest the same as a heart attack?

Prominent clinician and sudden cardiac arrest expert Sumeet Chugh, MD, is available for interviews to explain the serious heart condition caused by an electrical disturbance in the heart. Chugh is Cedars-Sinai’s associate director for Genomic Cardiology and medical director of the Heart Rhythm Center in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Chugh is not involved in Hamlin’s treatment. 

“Frequently, a sudden cardiac arrest is fatal within 10 minutes unless someone is right there to give CPR chest compressions or deploy a defibrillator,” Chugh said. “My life’s work is focused on being able to predict sudden cardiac arrest and how to best treat the lucky few who survive.”  

Chugh’s latest published research provides a clinical risk assessment algorithm that can better identify patients at highest risk of treatable cardiac arrest—and thus, a better understanding of those patients who would benefit from a defibrillator. 

The 13 risk factors include diabetes, myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, stroke, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, seizure disorders, syncope—a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure—and four separate indicators found with an electrocardiogram test, including heart rate. 

Sudden cardiac arrest claims at least 300,000 U.S. lives annually.

To request an interview, contact Sally Stewart | 310-729-4369 | [email protected]