Video games could trigger life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in children with undiagnosed heart conditions

A study has found that video games can trigger heart attacks in children with arrhythmic conditions. Head researcher Claire M. Lawley said, “Video games may represent a serious risk to some children with arrhythmic conditions; they might be lethal in patients with predisposing, but often previously unrecognised arrhythmic conditions.”

Researchers studied 22 cases of children losing consciousness while playing video games and found that multiplayer war gaming was the most common game played at the time of the incident. In some cases, the children died following a heart attack. The researchers believed that the dormant underlying heart condition is triggered by the rush of adrenaline children get from gameplay. These undiagnosed heart issues have previously been linked to sudden deaths of people playing sports.

I think this a really important discovery. As the researchers comment, video gaming was thought to be an alternative “safe activity” for children with heart conditions. However, with this proven linkage between video gaming and the triggering of heart conditions, parents have to be more vigilant, especially if children experience blackouts when playing video games.