It's a tragic news story that often makes headlines – a young, healthy, fit athlete suddenly collapses and dies of cardiac arrest while playing sports.
Dr. Andrew Krahn of the University of British Columbia, presenting a study at the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress about sudden cardiac death in Ontario, suggests this is a problem that warrants attention, but says don't blame the sports.
Reviewing coroners' reports, Dr. Krahn and a team of researchers found there were 174 cases of presumed sudden death in Ontario in 2008 in people aged two to 40 years.
Heart disease was present in 126 cases (72 per cent), 78 per cent of which was unrecognized. The majority of victims were male (76 per cent) between the ages of 18 and 40 (90 per cent).
With sudden cardiac death, people who seem to be perfectly healthy can die suddenly. Each year up to 40,000 Canadians die of sudden cardiac arrest. A significant proportion of these cases occur in otherwise healthy, young individuals.
Dr. Krahn's research dispels a myth that sudden cardiac death often takes place during rigorous physical activity. In fact, he found the majority of events (72 per cent) occurred at home.
Only 33 per cent of events involving children/adolescents and just nine per cent of events in adults occurred during moderate or vigorous exercise.
"Put it this way: If you have a 13-year-old kid who is not the star athlete who dies at home watching TV, it doesn't make the news," said Dr. Krahn. "But if the same kid is a high school quarterback or hockey star, then it's covered."
Regardless of the location of the cardiac event, Dr. Krahn believes his research sheds some light on this issue.
"This research gives us an idea of the scope of the problem – there are almost 200 young people who die suddenly every year in Ontario. A good proportion of them have unrecognized heart disease. So the question is: How can we catch this before it happens?"
He suggests more attention be paid to possible warning signs such as fainting. He believes that teachers, coaches and an aware public may be key to detecting risk, ensuring prevention and formal medical evaluation and therapy."I would advocate for careful screening of people who faint, using questionnaires and education of healthcare professionals so that when warning signs present themselves, they recognize them and this information gets passed on to the right people," he says.
Still, there are other measures that could potentially save lives, feels Dr. Beth Abramson, a Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher.
Training in CPR and the placement of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, arenas and gyms could save the lives of many of these people, she says.
"Our goal is to make AEDs as available as fire extinguishers in public places from Yellowknife to St. John's," says Dr. Abramson. "The odds of surviving a cardiac arrest can increase to up to 75 per cent when early CPR is used in combination with an AED in the first few minutes." Since 2006, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has helped place more than 3,000 AEDs in schools and other public spaces.
The importance of AEDs was demonstrated this past summer when NHL hockey player Brett MacLean suffered a cardiac arrest at an arena in Owen Sound, Ont., during a pick-up game with friends. Players immediately performed CPR on the ice, while a spectator retrieved the AED in the arena.Through their action, the 23-year-old survived and is currently recovering his home town of Port Elgin.
Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Foundation or CCS policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy.
Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.
For more information and/or interviews, contact the CCC 2012 MEDIA OFFICE AT 416-585-3781 (Oct 28-31)
ORDiane Hargrave Public Relations
New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy
25.07.2017 | Duke University
Chances to treat childhood dementia
24.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
25.07.2017 | Life Sciences