Gaming may lead to life-threatening arrhythmias in vulnerable children, study says

Computer gaming can cause life-threatening arrhythmias in vulnerable young people, a trend that may not have been reported before, according to a new study.

The researchers observed an uncommon but distinct pattern in children losing consciousness while playing video games.

The study’s findings were published in the journal Heart Rhythm Society, the Society for Cardiac Electrophysiology, and the Society for Pediatric & Congenital Electrophysiology.

Claire M. Lawley, MBBS, PhD, Children’s Heart Center, explains: “Video games can pose a serious risk for some children to develop cardiac arrhythmias; they can be deadly. in patients with a predisposition to arrhythmias, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Sydney, Australia. “Children who suddenly pass out while playing video games should be evaluated by a cardiologist as this may cause cardiac arrhythmias. could be the first sign of a serious heart problem.”

Investigators conducted a systematic review of the literature and began an international multi-site outreach effort to identify cases of children who suddenly lost consciousness while playing video games. death. Of the 22 cases they found, multiplayer war games were the most frequent cause. Some children have died after cardiac arrest. Subsequent diagnoses of certain heart rhythm conditions put the child at continued risk. Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) and congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) types 1 and 2 are the most common underlying causes.

There was a high proportion of genetic variants involved (63%) among the patients, which had important implications for their families. In some cases, the investigation of a child who passed out while playing video games has resulted in multiple family members being diagnosed with a significant familial heart rhythm problem. “Families and healthcare teams should think about safety precautions around video play in children with dangerously fast heart rates,” Dr. Lawley notes.

The investigators suggested that the adrenergic stimulation associated with the emotional gaming environment is the pathophysiological basis for this phenomenon. Playing video games is not always a “safe alternative” to competitive sports for which it is often considered. At the time of the cardiovascular incident, many patients are in a state of excitement, winning or losing, or in conflict with their companions.

Co-investigator Christian Turner, MBBS said: “We were aware that some children had heart conditions that could put them at risk when playing competitive sports, but we were shocked when we found out. found that some patients experienced life-threatening power outages while playing video games. Children’s Heart Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Sydney, Australia. “Video games are what I previously thought would be an alternative ‘safe activity’.” This is a really important discovery. We need to make sure everyone knows how important it is to check when someone has had a bad luck in these cases. “

The study notes that while the phenomenon is not a common occurrence, it is becoming more common. “Having cared for children with heart rhythm problems for over 25 years, I was amazed at how popular this emerging presentation was and noticed that some children even died from All the collaborators wanted to make this public, said the study’s co-investigator, Jonathan Skinner, MBChB, MD, also from Sydney.

As an accompanying editorial Daniel Sohinki, MD, MSc, Department of Cardiology, Augusta University, Augusta, GA, USA, and co-authors point out, “exertion should be understood as including activity Outside of traditional competitive athletics Appropriate counseling about the risks of intense video games should be targeted in children diagnosed with arrhythmias and any child with a history of syncope when Furthermore, any future screening program to identify athletes at risk for malignant arrhythmias should include athletes under consideration. considered to participate in eSports.”

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