The surgeon who operated on David Ginola says the former France star is lucky to be alive after collapsing at a football match.
The 49-year-old underwent a quadruple heart bypass after being rushed to hospital on Thursday, where he is now said to be recovering well.
A tweet from Ginola’s official Twitter account on Friday told concerned followers that the former Paris Saint-Germain winger was “fine, just need to rest a bit” after the surgery.
But Gilles Dreyfus, professor of cardiac surgery at the Monaco Heart Centre, says only the intervention of someone trained in first aid prevented Ginola from becoming brain dead after his collapse, before paramedics arrived with defibrillator equipment.
“He played a sort of charity game, he collapsed and people thought it was a joke but after one or two minutes somebody realised it was serious,” Dreyfus explained to BBC Sport.
“Fortunately there was one person who had been trained in CPR, otherwise he would have been brain dead. They then called the emergency services, and they arrived eight minutes later with him in cardiac arrest.
Hello world, never slept better. I’m fine, just need to rest a bit. Thank you so much all of you for your magnificent support.
— David Ginola (@teamginola) May 20, 2016
“He was shocked four times on site, they were able to restore a normal heart rhythm and within 10 minutes a helicopter arrived to transfer him to Monaco Heart Centre.
“I made the decision to transfer him to the operating theatre and he immediately underwent a quadruple heart bypass, which was very straightforward although difficult.
“This morning he woke up perfectly normally with no neurological damage and is now recovering from a bypass like anybody would normally do.
“It was a sequence of events that at every stage went absolutely fine, that is why he is here today. Luckier you can’t be. It’s an unbelievable story.”
Ginola, who retired from playing in 2002, has worked as a television pundit for much of the last decade.
The former Tottenham man announced in January 2015 that he intended to run for FIFA president, although he later withdrew his candidacy after failing to generate sufficient support.