Heart attacks in football and other sports: causes, predictions, prevention

In the 42nd minute of a match at the 2020 European Championships in Copenhagen, Christian Eriksen, a 29-year-old Danish footballer, fell to the ground when he received a shot.

As medical staff marched on the field to administer defibrillation, team members gathered to protect the views of nearly 14,000 fans who attended Eriks.

Emergency medical care probably saved Eriksen’s life. Studies consistently show that more than half of athletes who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, often referred to as a heart attack, die before they arrive at the hospital or are discharged.

Sudden cardiac arrest is not just about football. Although rare, every year amateur or professional athletes in sports such as hockey, basketball or football are reported to die suddenly. In in most casessudden cardiac death is associated with heart failure from birth.

Read about why athletes are affected by cardiac arrest and what they can do to reduce their risk.

It is rare for athletes to develop cardiac arrest. They are congenital heart disease or congenital heart disease the most common cause in athletes under 35 years of age. In older athletes, most sudden cardiac deaths are due to coronary artery disease.

Congenital conditions

Researchers believe the most common Congenital heart disease that causes cardiac arrest in athletes in the United States includes:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): thickening of the walls of the left ventricle. HCM is believed to be the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes and is affecting the mind 1 in 500 people in the general population.
  • Abnormal origin of a coronary artery: Improper location of one of the coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood.

There is debate as to whether HCM is actually the most common cause.

A 2015 study He examined autopsies of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes who died from a sudden cardiac arrest between 2003 and 2013. One in four athletes had normal structural heart failure, which means that arrhythmias or electrical disturbances could be the most common cause of death.

The researchers found only definitive evidence of HCM in 8 percent of cases, compared to 30 to 40 percent of previous studies.

Other abnormalities that can lead to sudden cardiac death include:

Dilated cardiomyopathy and Brugada syndrome may also be a common condition.

Conditions obtained

The conditions achieved are those that develop throughout your life.

The the most common The cause of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes over the age of 35 is atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of plaque on the wall of your arteries. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include:

Other conditions that can lead to cardiac arrest are:

Estimates of the frequency of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes vary according to the definition of the athlete and whether the tests include cardiac events that are far removed from the sport. They go anywhere 3,000 to 1 million.

A 2016 study estimates that the risk of sudden death among Division 1 NCAA athletes is 1 in 53,703 athletes a year. Some groups of people, such as black athletes, basketball players and men, seem to be in great danger.

In one 2020 studyThe researchers looked at how common sudden cardiac arrest was in high school for professional athletes using a U.S. national surveillance program.

A total of 74 cases of sudden cardiac arrest were identified for survival, resulting in 105 deaths. More than 80 percent of the people were men, and the average age was 16.6 years.

Cardiac arrest for sports

In one 2021 study, researchers studied the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes in the United States between the ages of 11 and 29 over 4 years. A total of 331 cases have been identified.

It’s still a matter of how best to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in athletes great discussion. Guidelines and laws vary from country to country.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (AHA) recommend an examination by examining your medical history and performing a physical examination.

Researchers continue to discuss the implementation of electrocardiogram (ECG) screening, as is the case in some countries. An ECG is a device that measures your heart activity.

Since 1982, Italian law requires a preliminary performance to participate in a competitive sports practice with an EKG. But this projection has not been uniformly accepted by the international scientific community.

In Italy, it is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy of the right ventricle. Some researchers say that ECG is not necessary in the United States, where HCM may be the most common cause of sudden death.

Researchers continue to explore the potential for usability genetic testing.

Eating a balanced diet can help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, especially for older athletes. Foods that reduce the risk of heart disease support athletic performance and overall health.

Advantages of having a sports workout and defibrillator on site

Having a certified sports coach and defibrillator is associated with a much higher chance of survival after a sudden cardiac arrest.

In one 2019 study, the researchers found that overall survival was 48 percent among athletes who had a sudden cardiac arrest. However, if he was a certified sports coach and was involved in the recovery, his survival rate rose to 83 percent. It rose to 89 percent with the use of an automated external defibrillator.

A thorough medical evaluation is required before returning to sports. study performed AHA They have found evidence that athletes with genetic heart disease can remain competitive with a relatively low incidence of heart events.

In some cases, it may be impossible to return safely. Your team or organization may also disqualify you for liability concerns.

Eriks returned to football after a sudden cardiac arrest 8 months later. Doctors prescribed a cardiovascular defibrillator. However, Italian medical authorities banned him from playing for Italy with Inter Milan, which led to him signing with Brentford in the UK Premier League.

The most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes is congenital heart disease. In older athletes, it is a disease of the coronary arteries.

Sudden cardiac death is rare in athletes, and there is still debate as to how to better analyze risk factors.

If you have a known heart problem, you can talk to your doctor about whether it is safe to participate in sports and whether you need more tests.


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