"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Irregular heartbeat brought on by video games “extremely rare”: study

August 9, 2023 – Even young people at high risk for irregular heart rhythms can safely play video games with proper diagnosis and treatment, a latest study suggests.

A previous study suggested that e-gaming could potentially cause fatal cardiac arrhythmias (Arrhythmias) in some children, which caused controversy amongst doctors.

The new studypublished online in Journal of the American College of Cardiologyshould make clear how steadily such cardiac arrhythmias occur and who’s most in danger.

“In the largest study to date, we show that these arrhythmias are extremely rare,” even in young individuals with genetic diseases reminiscent of Long QT syndromesaid Michael Ackerman, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, who led the study.

The researchers analyzed data from 2000 to 2022 from greater than 3,300 young individuals with a genetic heart disease who were treated on the Mayo Clinic.

Only six (0.5%) had a cardiac arrhythmia while playing video games. Five of the six were male and the typical age was 13 years. They were all treated and none had a cardiac arrhythmia throughout the study's remark period, which varied from 7 months to 4 years.

“The risk of sudden death should not be used as an argument for limiting time spent on e-gaming if people are properly diagnosed and treated,” Ackerman said.

But arrhythmia triggers reminiscent of dehydration, lack of sleep and performance-enhancing substances reminiscent of energy drinks can increase the chance of potential unwanted effects, he said. These triggers needs to be avoided, especially when playing video games.

It can be essential to take medications as prescribed, he noted.

Maully Shah, MD, of the Cardiac Center on the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and her colleagues reported just a few years ago during two fainting spells (syncope) and potentially life-threatening arrhythmias brought on by emotional outbursts while playing violent video games.

But, she said, “We do not prohibit patients from participating in . We are informing them of the available data on this very rare but possible event so that they can make informed decisions.”

As an additional preventative measure, Shah suggested finding a “buddy” to play with.

“Don’t play alone,” she advised.