A recent study found that playing video games, especially war games, may put youngsters at risk for fatal heart attacks. Playing video games could boost blood pressure to the point where an attack is more likely to occur in rare situations in children with various heart diseases predisposing them to cardiac arrhythmias, indicating a causal relationship between the two.
Although there were no studies earlier, there have been reports of cardiac arrhythmias (an irregular heart rhythm) among children and teenagers playing video games. Video games are not typically mentioned in counseling provided to families with children who have heart issues, despite the fact that high-risk hobbies typically are. Researchers from Canada and Australia recently conducted a study to see whether there is a connection.
The authors conducted in-depth interviews with medical experts and a thorough search of published papers to assess a number of cases of kids and teenagers who suffered arrhythmias during gaming. 51 distinct records were found by researchers, but none of them were RCTs.
22 people with documented arrhythmia episodes while electronic gaming were found in the records. All were between the ages of 7 and 16, and the majority (19/22) were men. Four people died as a result of the gaming-related arrhythmia, which presented symptoms that ranged from chest pain to life-threatening situations. It is noteworthy that just seven of the children had heart issues when they were diagnosed, whereas 12 more did so after the gaming event, indicating that it may be a trigger for underlying conditions.
Eight patients were taking part in a war game at the time, and of the seven who had information about the stage of the game when the heart event occurred, six had recently won or lost, with one patient “jumping up and down in enthusiasm.” Over the controller, the other was arguing with a sibling.
It should be noted that the study is constrained by its opt-in character, which means that only case reports submitted to the study are taken into account. Additionally, adults have not yet been examined to determine whether the same link exists.
The authors now state that previous episodes of syncope (fainting or passing out) in young gamers should serve as a red flag for underlying heart issues and be taken into consideration during clinical evaluations. Children having these features should undergo additional testing in order to reduce the likelihood of fatal outcomes.