The annual incidence of exercise-related cardiac arrest in older adults is rare: 2 to 3 per 100,000 people.
Of the 4,078 cardiac arrests studied in people 65 years and older, 77 (1.9%) occurred during or after physical activity, such as cycling, gym exercise, running, or playing golf or tennis. Most cardiac arrests occurred in men (91%).
The investigators also analyzed the medical records of 47 patients with exercise-related cardiac arrest and 3,162 patients with non-exercise-related cardiac arrest. The analysis showed that people who experienced a cardiac arrest during or shortly after exercising were more likely to have cardiovascular risk factors and other health problems than those who did not experience an exercise-related cardiac arrest.
People who experienced an exercise-related cardiac arrest were also more likely to experience it in a public place, making them four times more likely to survive than those who experienced a non-exercise-related cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when an electrical fault causes a person’s heart to stop beating. This is an extremely dangerous event and most people die within minutes. The good news is that the rate of cardiac arrest among working-age people has decreased in recent years. But among older adults, the incidence of cardiac arrest increases.
Exercise is one of the most heart-healthy habits. However, in rare cases, it can trigger an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to cardiac arrest.
Investigators analyzed cardiac arrests among people 65 and older in Portland, Oregon, and Ventura County, California. To do so, they reviewed data collected as part of two prospective studies: the Oregon Unexpected Unexpected Death Study, which has been ongoing since 2002, and the Ventura Study of Sudden Death in Multiethnic Communities, which has been ongoing since 2015. predict. The data excluded people who experienced cardiac arrest while in hospital and those who did not attempt resuscitation.
People who die from cardiac arrest during or within an hour of physical activity are classified as exercise-related cardiac arrest.
The findings suggest that although physical activity among older adults is steadily increasing, cardiac arrests triggered by physical activity are uncommon. In addition, patients with exercise-induced cardiac arrest tend to have fewer comorbidities and cardiovascular risk factors than those with non-exercise-induced cardiac arrest. Taken together, the benefits of physical activity may outweigh the associated risk of cardiac arrest, the authors concluded.
“The annual incidence of exercise-related cardiac arrest among older adults is extremely rare,” said Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the Smith Heart Institute. Cedars-Sinai, senior author of the study. “This means that older adults who do exercise regularly should continue. Those who develop new symptoms should consult their physician. Those who want to start should be encouraged to do so, but only after consulting their physician and obtaining an exercise prescription.”
Additional Cedars-Sinai authors include Lauri Holmstrom, MD, Harpriya S. Chugh, BS, Audrey Uy-Evanado, MD, Arayik Sargsyan, MD, MPH, Chad Sorenson, BS, Shiva Salmasi, MD, Faye L. Norby, PHD, MPH and Kyndaron Reinier, PhD, MPH.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01HL145675); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL147358); the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation; the Finnish Cultural Foundation; the Instrumental Science Foundation; the Orion Research Foundation; and the Paavo Nurmi Foundation.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center