24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Health Tip: Signs of Food PoisoningSepsis Causes Far More Deaths Worldwide Than ThoughtMillennials Most Likely to Skip Flu Shot, Believe 'Anti-Vaxxer' Claims: PollResearchers Alter Mosquitoes to Resist Dengue InfectionMany Americans Are Inactive, With Southerners Faring WorseVirtual Reality Can Bring Real-Life PainAre Doctors Discarding 'Injured' Kidneys That Might Be Used for Transplant?Nerve Stimulation Therapy Could Cut Fibromyalgia PainWhich Obesity Surgery Is Right for You?Brake Dust Another Driver of Air PollutionWhat Works Best to Help Men With Overactive Bladder?More Studies Link Vaping to Asthma, COPDCertain Diabetes Meds May Lower Gout Risk, TooHeart Transplants From Donors With Hepatitis C May Be Safe: StudyClimate Change May Translate Into More Fatal InjuriesAll in the Timing: Many Get Knee Replacement Too Late or Too SoonHealth Tip: Preparing for an UltrasoundLow Levels of Key Blood Cells Could Signal Higher Death RiskGyms Are Fertile Ground for GermsTwo More Heartburn Meds Recalled Due to Possible CarcinogenZika Damage Showing Up in Babies Deemed 'Normal' at BirthHealth Tip: Coping With Winter NosebleedsHeart Disease May Up Risk of Kidney FailureFlu Cases Surge Early, Could a Tough Season Lie Ahead?Cluster of Unhealthy Risk Factors Could Raise Odds of Recurrent Blood ClotsAHA News: Worried About Dementia? Check This Blood Pressure NumberNew Study Reports Alarming Surge in E-Scooter AccidentsSo Long, 98.6: Average Human Body Temperature Is DroppingWhat Matters More for Obesity Risk, Genes or Lifestyle?Health Tip: Protect Yourself From Household ChemicalsOzone, Wood Smoke Raise Odds of COPD in Smokers and NonsmokersSmog May Be Bad for Your BonesEver Get a Rash from Your Skin Cream or Makeup? Here's WhyHealth Tip: 5 Eye Myths DebunkedHealth Tip: Allergic Reaction First AidTB Vaccine More Powerful When Given IntravenouslyGene Therapy May Be Long-Term Cure for Type of HemophiliaClots in Space: Astronaut's Blocked Vein Brings Medical InsightHealth Tip: Help Your Child Safely Lose WeightPatients Often Bring Undetected 'Superbug' to the Hospital: StudyExperimental Drug Could Be New Option Against ArthritisBanned for Decades, DDT and Dioxins Are Still Harming U.S. BabiesHealth Tip: When Bruising is a Red FlagAmericans Need to Tackle Youth Obesity: U.S. Task ForceFestive Foods Can Leave Those on Restricted Diets Out in the ColdHow You Can Be Overfat Without Being OverweightSleep Disturbances May Trigger MigraineOlder Blood Safe as New Blood for TransfusionsHealth Tip: Home Care for Stomach CrampsCould You Be Allergic to Additives?
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Intense Gaming Can Trigger Irregular Heartbeat, Fainting in Some Players

HealthDay News
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 18th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Video games that guarantee heart-stopping action might come dangerously close to fulfilling that promise in some players.

A handful of video gamers have passed out when intense sessions caused their heartbeat to lapse into an irregular rhythm known as an arrhythmia, researchers report.

Three boys between the ages of 10 and 15 separately lost consciousness when the action in a war video game grew to a fever pitch, the research team noted in a letter published Sept. 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Heart rhythm recordings either at the time or subsequently revealed that they had suffered a life-threatening heart rhythm disturbance -- a form of ventricular tachycardia, in essence a near cardiac arrest," said senior researcher Dr. Christian Turner. He is a pediatric cardiologist with the Children's Hospital at Westmead in Australia.

Each of the boys were found to have rare and very serious underlying heart abnormalities, either due to the structure or the electrical function of their heart muscle, the researchers said.

This was a surprise for two of the boys, as they'd never been diagnosed with a heart problem, Turner said.

These cases show that video games can produce the same sort of adrenaline rush that can cause athletes and people under extreme duress to die when their hearts stop, said Dr. Ranjit Suri, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's in New York City.

"You hear it said that he got so angry he died suddenly, he got so frightened he died suddenly," Suri said. "It's in the same league. It's just that now we recognize gaming can produce that kind of rush."

People should not underestimate the danger posed by irregular heart rhythms that cause syncope, or loss of consciousness, Suri noted.

"The only difference between syncope and sudden death is that, in syncope, you wake up," Suri said. "In a sense, syncope is aborted sudden death -- aborted in the sense that the arrhythmia stops. The person passes out, the arrhythmia stops, and they live to tell the tale. Next time, you might not be that lucky."

The first patient, who was 10, lost consciousness after winning his war video game. He spontaneously woke up, but later suffered a cardiac arrest at school. Doctors figured out he suffered from a genetic disorder that interferes with electrical conduction in his heart.

A second patient, aged 11, collapsed after having heart palpitations while playing a war video game with a friend. He was diagnosed with long-QT syndrome, a condition that can potentially cause surging and chaotic heartbeats. Two sudden unexplained deaths in his family were subsequently linked to this disorder.

The third patient, aged 15, had undergone surgery for a heart defect diagnosed as a baby. He started to pass out in bed while winning his video game and was rushed to the hospital, where doctors jump-started his regular heart rhythm.

Doctors implanted a defibrillator into the third patient, which turned out to be a smart move. Two months later, he had another episode while playing the same game and the implant restored his normal heartbeat.

"We think it is likely that these episodes happened when they got very excited while playing the game," Turner said. "Presumably what is happening is that the child is getting so excited that adrenaline is building up in the body and this is triggering the abnormal rhythm."

These sort of heart disorders are rare and affect only a very small number of children, Turner and Suri noted.

It's the kind of heart problem that often precludes kids and teenagers from taking part in competitive sports, Suri said.

Children who pass out during intense video gaming should be evaluated as soon as possible, Turner and Suri advised, preferably by a heart center that specializes in disorders that disrupt heart rhythm.

Turner said, "Faints of one sort or another are common in children and most are not serious, but sudden faints during excitement or exercise are often a sign of a dangerous -- but usually treatable -- heart condition. For instance, if a child has an episode of blacking out during sporting or swimming activities, or when excitedly playing a video game, they should be seen by a doctor."

More information

The American Heart Association has more about arrhythmia.