The future of Inter midfielder Christian Eriksen’s playing career in Italy is not necessarily a matter of which device he has implanted, but for the reason to have the device, says sports medicine expert Carlo Tranquilli.

Speaking to Italian news service ANSA, Tranquilli outlined the protocol for footballers with heart conditions in Italy, and addressed reports that should Eriksen be fitted with an ICD (Impanted Cardioverter Defibrulator) he would not be permitted to play in Italy.

For Tranquilli, the central question is of the Dane’s underlying diagnosis, and his future on the pitch will be determined by the question of the cause of his heart attack on Saturday and of whether it is likely to repeat, rather than by the question of which device he uses.

“Whether Eriksen will be able to play in Italy or not will depend not so much on the device but on the reason the defibrilator is implanted,” he explained.

“We need to understand the diagnosis, what really happened to the player.”

On the question of how the ICD works, Tranquilli explained:

“It works by defibrulating the heart ever time a cardiac irregularity occurs. It is tiny, tolerable, and very easy to manage. The operation to implant it is very trivial and several are done in Italy.”

He continued: “Basically, it carries out a continuous monitoring of the heart rhythm, 24 hours a day. If the device detects a cardiac arrhythmia, that is an irregularity in the rhythm, it send a shock to correct it.”

Tranquilli cautions that it is too soon to speculate as to whether the device will be permanent for the 29-year-old, explaining that only further testing can reveal this:

“It is dependent on the diagnosis to say how long Eriksen will have to wear this device. It will be necessary to determine, for example, whether they implant it only as a precaution, or for other reasons.”

He closes: “But I repeat, this will depend on the actual diagnosis of what led Eriksen’s heart to stop beating – for that, it will take genetic tests.”