A new case-series study has discovered that gaming can trigger deadly heart arrhythmias in children. Heart arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that occur when the electrical signals coordinating the beating of an individual’s heart aren’t working properly.
The researchers stated that children who fainted while they played video games needed to be evaluated. They also urged physicians to be aware of this possible risk in children with arrhythmia syndromes while gaming.
Dr. Christian Turner, one of the leads of the study, stated that the population at risk was unusually small and if there was no suspicious family history, then no cardiac tests were needed. Turner, a pediatric cardiologist from the Heart Center for Children at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, added that key things to be aware of included children who fainted during physical activities or sports, those who fainted in periods of high excitement such as when they were gaming, those who had been injured when fainting, and those who had a family history of fainting during sport or families with unexplained deaths.
The global case series included 22 cases of children who had lost consciousness suddenly while gaming. The children, who were all between the ages of seven and sixteen, had proven or suspected ventricular arrhythmias during gaming.
In their report, the researchers stated that seven of those children of them had already received a diagnosis for proarrhythmic cardiac conditions prior to the study while twelve of them were diagnosed after the study. They also reported that six of the children experienced cardiac arrests but lived after resuscitation while four died suddenly.
When the arrhythmic event took place, six of the children had lost or won a game, with the child excitedly jumping up and down. One of the other children had been fighting with a sibling for the game controller when the cardiac event occurred. The researchers also found that eight of the children who suffered the arrhythmias were playing war games, noting that electronic war games were a strong arrhythmic trigger for patients with proarrhythmic cardiac indications.
The researchers also tested the family members of these children, which led to diagnoses in many of them.
The investigators noted in their report that cardiologists needed to be aware of the potential for children to still have arrhythmic syncope episodes even after beginning medical treatment, as observed in four of the children who still experienced cardiac events after being prescribed anti-arrhythmic drugs.
The researchers added that it was important to counsel children with arrhythmia syndrome diagnoses about appropriate activities to engage in. The study’s findings were reported in the “Heart Rhythm” journal.
Fortunately, technologies from companies such as HeartBeam Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAT) are making it a easier to detect heart conditions so that those who need treatment can receive that treatment before the defect progresses and requires more extensive interventions.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to HeartBeam Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/BEAT
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