Video games can lead to irregular heart rhythms in children: Study

Video games can lead to irregular heart rhythms in children: Study

A new study conducted in Australia has reportedly discovered that video games could trigger life-threatening irregular heart rhythms in children. The study team suggested that playing video games can be as risky as playing competitive contact sports like rugby or football.

It was found that contests of video games are often so emotionally charged that children with undiagnosed irregularities in their heartbeats have had fatal heart while playing them, which might put otherwise healthy adolescents at risk of contracting cardiac arrhythmias.

Researchers attributed this phenomenon to the nervous tension caused by the excitement while playing.

The lead investigator of the study, Dr. Claire Lawley, MBBS, PhD, stated that video games might pose a serious risk to children with arrhythmic conditions, and may also be lethal for predisposed patients who may have unrecognized arrhythmic conditions.

Dr. Lawley warned that children who suddenly black out while playing these games should have their parents get them checked by a heart specialists, adding that it may be the first sign of a critical heart issue.

The study detected an uncommon, yet distinct, pattern in vulnerable children.

In a systematic review of medical literature, 22 cases were identified of multiple players fainting while playing war-themed games. Some have even died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Later diagnoses of several heart rhythm conditions put children at greater risk.

The two most common causes were found to be long QT syndrome (LQTS), which delays the heart’s electrical system, and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), which causes a rise in calcium levels inside cells.

There have been cases where a child losing consciousness while playing video games have led to the detection of a life-threatening heart rhythm condition in not just the child, but also in many family members.

Dr. Lawley also noted that families and healthcare professionals should take appropriate safety precautions when children who are at risk of lethal fast heart rhythms are engaging in electronic gaming.

In certain incidents, players were often excited after having won or lost the game or were in an argument with other players.

Many co-investigators were also new to the evidence of children being at risk from playing video games. They were also taken aback by the number of deaths caused by the activity, and emphasized the importance of getting assessed if someone experiences a blackout while playing.

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Pooja Sharma

Pursuing her professional career as a content writer for over two years now, Pooja Sharma is endowed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature. The articles that she writes are a balanced blend of her ever-growing love of language and the technical expertise that she has gained over the years. Currently Pooja pens insightful articles for Newsorigins and numerous other websites, covering subjects such as business, finance, and technology.