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Sudden cardiac arrest rare in older adult sportspersons: Research

ANI | Updated: Feb 05, 2023 19:06 IST

Los Angeles [US], February 5 (ANI): Sports-related sudden cardiac arrest in elderly persons happens in just 2 to 3 cases per 100,000 people each year. The findings were reported in the peer-reviewed journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.
The exercise was involved in 77 (1.9 per cent) of the 4,078 sudden cardiac arrests in persons 65 and older, including cycling, working out at the gym, running, or playing tennis or golf. Men were the most likely to have a cardiac arrest (91 per cent of the time).
Researchers also looked at medical records, which were available for 3,162 cardiac arrest cases and 47 cases of sports-related cardiac arrest. According to this investigation, those who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during or right after exercise were more likely to have fewer cardiovascular risk factors and other health problems than people who did not.
People who experienced sports-related cardiac arrest were also more likely to experience it in a public location, which contributed to being four times more likely to survive than those who experienced a non-sports-related cardiac arrest.
A sudden cardiac arrest occurs when an electrical malfunction causes a person's heart to stop beating. This is an extremely dangerous event, with most people dying within minutes. The good news is that in recent years, the occurrence of sudden cardiac arrest has decreased among people of working age. But for older people, the rates of sudden cardiac arrest have increased.

Exercise is one of the most heart-healthy habits to engage in. In rare cases, however, it can trigger an irregular heart rhythm that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.
Investigators analyzed sudden cardiac arrests that have occurred among people aged 65 and older in Portland, Oregon, and Ventura County, California. To do this, they reviewed data collected as part of two prospective studies: The Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, which has been ongoing since 2002, and the Ventura Prediction of Sudden Death in Multi-ethnic Communities study, which has been ongoing since 2015. The data excluded people who experienced sudden cardiac arrest while hospitalised and people for whom resuscitation was not attempted.
People who died from sudden cardiac arrest during sports activity or within one hour of the activity were categorized as having a sports-related sudden cardiac arrest.
The findings reveal that even though sports activity is steadily rising in older adults, sudden cardiac arrest triggered by sports activity is uncommon. Furthermore, people who have sudden cardiac arrest with exercise tend to have fewer comorbidities and cardiovascular risk factors than people who have sudden cardiac arrest not triggered by exercise. Taken together, the benefits of sports activity likely outweigh the risk of associated sudden cardiac arrest risk, the authors conclude.
"The annual incidence of sports-related sudden cardiac arrest among older adults is extremely rare," said Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research, director of the Heart Rhythm Center in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, and senior author of the study, adding, "This means older people who regularly participate in sports should continue. Those who develop new symptoms should consult their physician. Those who want to start should be encouraged to do so, but only after consulting their physician and obtaining an exercise prescription." (ANI)